EPISD's new public comment policy sparks outrage; employees to receive a 2.5% raise

People wanting to speak during public comment will now have to wait until the end of the meeting

EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Independent School Board of Managers voted to change how public comment is conducted during board meetings. 

Up to four people can sign up to speak about a particular agenda item, before the item is discussed.

If a person's comments do not pertain to the agenda, they will have to wait until the end of the meeting, just before the board goes into executive session.

El Paso Teachers' Association President Norma de la Rosa said this puts parents waiting for hours before they can speak. De la Rosa said people may be less inclined to speak because of the policy change. 

Board President Dee Margo said the new policy will make meetings more efficient and faster. 

The board also voted to give every employee as 2.5% raise, based on their base compensation. This ends up amounting to about $1,000 more for starting teacher with a Bachelor's degrees, $2,000 more for a Master's.

The total amount spent on the raises will amount to $7.5 million. 

Since last year, EPISD had a turnover rate of 9.1%. The board said it wants to keep the district's salaries competitive with other districts to attract qualified teachers. Right now EPISD pays the least out of all the Region 19 school districts.

Starting salaries for a beginning teacher with a bachelor's/master's:
Fabens ISD - $47,775/$48,975
Clint ISD - $45,704/$47,204
Canutillo - $45,000/$46,500
SISD - $44,955/$46,955
YISD - $43,865/$45,865
EPISD - $43,734/$44,734

Board voted to conduct a compensation study and look at a merit-based raise system by the end of the year.

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