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“Bring the students who missed their on-campus classes back up to academic standards…”
Every full-time employee at Cotulla ISD can expect to receive not only a five-percent hike in annual salary but also a cash incentive for deciding to remain employed locally for another year.
In a unanimous decision Monday night, August 9, the CISD Board of Trustees agreed to do more than other South Texas school districts and ordered the pay raise across all full-time staff, and to encourage them not to leave.
CISD Superintendent Ruben Cervantes said in a brief interview Tuesday that he believes the board members were motivated by what they had seen staff doing to keep the school district running during the coronavirus pandemic, while at least half the student population was taking classes remotely.
“Other school districts have given their staff two- and three-percent salary raises,” the superintendent said. “Our board wanted to do more.”
All full-time school district employees who stay with Cotulla another year will be given a $2,000 retention bonus over two of their paychecks, one in September and the other in December, Supt. Cervantes said, and those who still choose to leave Cotulla and work elsewhere before the academic year ends will have their bonuses pro-rated.
The retention bonuses will be repeated for each of the next three years, according to the board’s Monday night decision.
Cervantes said he believes the retention of fully trained staff is vital to the district’s success, not least in the classroom, where students are often negatively affected by teacher replacement.
“When there is a turnover of teachers, the kids feel it and the kids can suffer from it,” the superintendent said. “We need our trained teachers and support staff to stick with us, to give the students the continuity they need.”
Cervantes added that the school board members themselves designed the raise and retention plans that passed a vote on Monday night, and said the elected officials were prompted by the availability of federal grant funds to promote district safety and student wellbeing.
“It is important for Cotulla and all school districts to ‘close the gap,’ to bring the students who missed their on-campus classes back up to academic standards,” Supt. Cervantes said. “The board and I believe that our trained teachers who have been with us through this will help bring those students back.”