EPISD board approves salary increase for teachers


EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve a four-percent salary increase for teachers and librarians.

The board meeting was packed with members of the American Federation of Teachers, anxiously awaiting the decision.

The district approved a $9.9 million dollar salary budget, which included a starting salary of $48,300.

Also included in the approved budget is a pay bump for employees working for 30 years or more. They will either get $1,986, or a salary of $61,960 dollars, whichever is higher.

Some members of the American federation of teachers say the raises do not keep up with the cost of living.

"I think there's a misconception that the amount of money that they are proposing to give teachers is a livable wage," Debbie Price, a teacher at the district, told ABC-7. She added, "unfortunately if you're a single parent, most single parent teachers are looking for second job because the amount we're making right now is just not enough to cover expenses, especially with the increasing healthcare insurance."

The employee compensation budget begins in July.

Other major items were slated to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting, including EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera's contract.

The contract discussion was a focal point for many attending the meeting, but the item from the agenda was withdrawn by Cabrera himself.

Cabrera recently came under scrutiny after the El Paso Times reported he was traveling away from the district more than 100 days in 14 months, at a cost of $78,000. That's four times more than his district counterparts according to the Times.

Cabrera left Wednesdays meeting immediately and did not speak to the media. 

ABC-7 asked Board President Dori Fenenbock about the expenses.

"Years ago we were under a state investigation. We were under a FBI investigation, we were getting audited by the TEA and the Department of Education was wanting to claw-back money that had been given to the state based on falsified student scores and that took tremendous advocacy and that was face to face meetings, it wasn't happening here at the district and the superintendent had to travel and there's no way to compare EPISD to any other district in the country certainly not in the state or in the region. We have had to overcome extraordinary challenges," Fenenbock said.

Fenenbock added travel expenses came under the years budget and Cabrera removed the item because not all the trustees were present for the meeting.

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