EDCOUCH — The Edcouch- Elsa school board last week approved pay raises for employees, with priority given to teachers who have more than five years of experience.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Richard Rivera said the increases are relatively high compared to other school districts that he has seen.

For teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians, there will be a projected increase of $2,000 for those with less than five years of experience.

With 118 staff members who fall under this group, the pay bumps amount to approximately $236,000 for the district annually. Staff members with more than five years of experience will receive a projected increase of $3,000. There are 215 individuals who make up this group, and will cost about $645,000.

Both monthly payroll and bi-weekly payroll staff will receive a projected increase of $1,000. Combined, this is a group numbers about 355 and totals about $355,000.

Following passage of Texas House Bill 3 — which reformed school finance, provided property tax relief and mandated pay raises — 30% of state revenue must go toward pay compensation. Of that, 75% is mandated toward teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians. The remaining 25% will be allocated to non-administrative staff members.

Administration, which totals 41 staff members, received a projected increase of $3,000. These were not mandated by House Bill 3 but the costs could be made up, Rivera said in a presentation.

All employees will receive a $500 August incentive pay and another $500 December incentive pay.

“I think we were able to come up with a healthy pay raise for all staff members, especially with the bonuses,” Rivera said. “I feel our staff deserves this … they did not get a raise last year, the staff last year did not get a raise at all.”

The district will receive additional revenue of over $4.8 million following the legislative session, with pay increases and stipends totaling to over $1.4 million.

Early education was among one of the largest allotments, with over $1.1 million

according to the funding recap presented at the board meeting. High school, transportation, school safety and bilingual were among other programs to receive allocations.

“It wasn’t just monies for salaries, it was money for other programs as well, so I think they did a tremendous job in Austin this past summer, (in) getting much needed monies to all school districts in Texas,” Rivera said.

McAllen, Monte Alto, Mission and Sharyland are among the other school districts in Hidalgo County that have approved their pay compensation plans.

Other school districts have recently held workshops to discuss the matter, including the Edinburg and Mercedes school districts.