EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a $371 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year, raising salaries for employees and lowering the property tax rate for taxpayers within the district.

“This will be an exciting year for Edinburg CISD, because we were successful in passing a balanced budget that included the items in House Bill 3 for teacher raises and staff raises,” said ECISD Board President Robert Peña Jr. “At the same time, it gives our taxpayers some tax relief.”

House Bill 3, which was passed by the 86th Texas Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 11,provides more money for classrooms, increases teacher compensation and cuts local property taxes.

“House Bill 3 helped to take care of the teachers. However, the Edinburg CISD School Board went above and beyond by giving the teachers more than the state was requiring us to do,” said ECISD Interim Superintendent Gilbert Garza Jr.

The School Board approved the budget at its regular meeting on Aug. 20, which included a compensation plan for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses as follows:

• Zero years of experience:  $1,800 pay increase (3.25%)      

• 1 to 5 years of experience: $2,400 pay increase (4.8%)

• 6 or more years of experience:  $3,000 pay increase (6%)

Administrative employees will receive a 3.5% pay increase from their midpoint salary and full-time hourly employees will receive a raise of $1.00 per hour, which ranges from a 3.5% to 8% pay increase.

The new hourly rate increases the starting salary for bus drivers to $14.25 an hour.

“Our transportation staff is going to be the highest paid transportation department in Hidalgo County,” Peña said. “When you are transporting 20,000 students that is very key and vital to your student operations.”

In addition, all eligible employees will receive a $500 mid-year stipend.

The Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees also approved the new tax rate for 2019-2020, which is $1.1382 per $100 valuation, a decrease of about 10 cents compared to last year’s tax rate.

“We are grateful for what the school board has done in lowering taxes and leaving a little more money in taxpayers’ pockets,” Garza said.