EL PASO, Texas - Teachers in the El Paso Independent School District will receive pay raises averaging 6 percent under a compensation plan approved by the school board on Tuesday night.
The measure also increases the starting annual salary for new teachers from $48,300 to $50,566.
The pay raises will take effect in August.
Teachers' union officials, for the most part, reacted favorably to the new salary structure.
"This is the best package I've seen in 18 years. The second thing is, I'm very pleased with it. It's actually better than I expected, but I also think they could have done better," said Ross Moore, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
The pay hikes were made possible by a $42.6 million increase in state funding for the school district, which the Texas Legislature earmarked largely to fund salary increases.
The new pay plan approved by the board also included raises for other school employees averaging 5 percent.
As a result, school nurses will see yearly salaries jump from $42,200 to $48,3000, while the hourly pay rate for bus drivers will go from $10.70 to $15 an hour.
"Half our employees do not work in the classrooms, so across the board we wanted to make sure that every employee was fairly compensated and every employee received a compensation increase," said EPISD superintendent Juan Cabrera.
The additional state money will also provide $13 million that EPISD will use to expand full-day pre-kindergarten at schools throughout the district, as well as fund new school-safety measures.