Austin Says Yes to Teacher Pay Raise
AISD Prop. 1 passes, even though state makes it as tough as possible
By Richard Whittaker,
4:56PM, Wed. Nov. 5, 2008
Even in a time of economic upheaval, Austin voters were still prepared to back education costs in last night's ballot. In the often-overlooked Austin ISD Prop. 1 vote, the 3.9-cent per $100 valuation property tax increase passed, 58% to 42%.
At a press event this afternoon, Austin ISD superintendent Pat Forgione explained, "The state makes us say, will you raise your taxes. That's a pretty blunt statement, but obviously people understood that when you're trying to live within your income, and you're trying to live within austerity, this was a good investment."
The big problem for the district is that while the state makes them go to the ballot every time they want to increase taxes to cover costs, it also prevents them from explaining why they need the cash in the ballot language. That's why Forgione thanked three seemingly unlikely allies – Austin ISD Board of Trustees, Education Austin, and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce – for getting the message about what the extra cash buys: an extra $1,300 per teacher in their wages (3% of the median teacher's wage), retro-active and to be paid in the December 18 paycheck, then the actual 3% pay raise in January.