Navasota ISD raises teacher salaries during nationwide teacher shortage

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 3:37 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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NAVASOTA, Texas (KBTX) - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 300,000 teachers left the profession between February 2020 and May 2022. That’s a nearly 3% drop in the workforce.

Navasota ISD teacher Tori Diaz has been teaching for four years. She said her mission and message for teaching is clear.

“No matter where you come from, no matter what obstacles are in your way, nothing can define the kind of person you can be and the kind of things that you can achieve,” Diaz said.

Although like many, her passion was met with obstacles during the pandemic. She was only in the classroom with her students for two weeks before everything was pushed online due to COVID-19.

“We move online, and we are scrambling trying to meet the needs of our students and their families,” Diaz said.

This teacher shortage has caused districts around the country to find ways to address it. The Learning Policy Institute reported that the pandemic took a major toll on teachers due to longer hours, fears of contracting COVID-19, personal responsibilities like childcare and low salaries. According to the Economic Policy Institute, teachers earn 20% less in weekly wages compared to their college-educated counterparts not in education.

Navasota ISD’s superintendent Stu Musick said at least 50 teachers left the classroom for good last year.

“When we started last year, we had hopes of everything being better and everything being normal,” Musick said. “When it wasn’t, I think that kind of threw us for a loop and made last year start off on the wrong foot.”

Now, he’s hoping to start the upcoming school year on the right foot. Navasota has now joined the list of districts that have increased salaries just in time for the new school year. Districts including Bryan ISD and College Station ISD have also raised salaries for teachers going into the upcoming school year.

Navasota ISD’s Board of Trustees recently approved the following compensation and benefits changes:

  • 2% raise for all returning Navasota ISD employees
  • $2,000 stipend for all returning Navasota ISD employees
  • $500 stipend for all new Navasota ISD employees
  • 5 local leave days annually
  • Free lunch for all Navasota ISD employees
  • 5 local COVID-19 days

Musick hopes this attracts teachers to the district and keeps teachers like Diaz in the classroom.

“To get that thank you back from the community, to get it from the school board and to see that what we’re doing doesn’t go unnoticed, I mean is huge,” Diaz said.

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