Teacher salary adjustment was discussed at the regularly scheduled Van Alstyne Independent School District board of trustees meeting on March 20 in order to enable the Van Alstyne ISD to contend with competition for faculty from the surrounding schools districts.

Assistant Superintendent David Brown said that some good teachers from areas such as Frisco are now returning to Van Alstyne due to pay raises. He explained that some teachers had to leave Van Alstyne in the past due to higher salary offers in other cities.

“Now the pay is not a deterrent to stay,” Brown said.

Superintendent John Spies noted that the direct competition for teachers does not come from the state, but the districts closest to Van Alstyne, including cities such as Richardson, McKinney, Allen and Plano.

Spies said that though the teacher salary is still $6-8,000 less than comparative state averages, it was previously $12,000 below.

“It's still a little painful, but it's not as painful,” Spies said about the current salary.

For example, the starting salary for a teacher in Van Alstyne last year was $42,000, and it has currently been raised to $43,400. At least $1,000 was added to each existing salary level, elevating the total teacher salary cost to $163,600 of added budget in addition to benefits.

Spies responded to board member Randall Morgan's questioning if the figure is in accordance with future budget guidelines. Spies said the current figure has been adjusted for a long-term plan, since teacher salaries have been made an annual priority in Van Alstyne.

“We're doing it slow and steady and just committing to it,” Spies said, as he acknowledged that salaries in Collin County provide a lot of teacher competition.

Other ISD reports discussed at the meeting included Spies acknowledging that the school enrollment has been steadily creeping up in the last few months.

“It is unusual for it to go up this time of year, so that is a good thing,” Spies said.

Additionally, names need to be submitted immediately for the naming of both Van Alstyne elementary schools.

“We're going to try to send out notifications either Thursday or next week so we need those names desperately,” Spies said.