Following last month’s discussion on teacher salary, paraprofessional pay in the school district was discussed at the regularly scheduled Van Alstyne Independent School District board of trustees meeting on April 17.

Speaking on behalf of the pay was Assistant Superintendent David Brown, who stated that adjustments have been made to balance salaries since the number of teacher work days was reduced by three days, which caused paraprofessional work day reductions as well.

“People not on yearly contracts were going to be reduced three pay days a year,” Brown said. “To remedy the problem we added 15 cents to everyone not on 226 days so they don’t lost money.”

Superintendent John Spies agreed that the pay raise was a compensation for the three lost days of work.

The goal of the district, according to Brown, is to try to get closer to state pay averages by increasing pay overall. Brown stated that the Van Alstyne compares averages to schools that are 400 students above or below in student population sizes. He situated Van Alstyne in the middle of the pay averages in similarly sized schools, with the aim being to remain in the middle rather than stand on either end.

There will be a minimum 45 cent pay increase for paraprofessionals to help remedy the pay gap for the 2017-2018 school year.

Spies listed campus secretaries and cafeteria managers as the lowest paid paraprofessional positions, so salaries for these two positions were appropriately increased to compensate.

ISD Curriculum Director Wendi Russell also presented an evaluation waiver meant to prepare teachers for T Tests, which will serve as 20 percent of teacher evaluations due to state evaluation regulations.

“(The T Tests) measure how much a student progresses academically during their time with each teacher … so that teachers know how they impact the child in the classroom,” Russell said.

The evaluations are meant to determine how the student progresses with each particular teacher in order to chart student progress for the state. The purpose of the test is merely to see what each student knows.

Growth measures will be needed for grades that are not tested, so Russell stated that pre and post tests might be used. Every teacher will need their interactions with individual students tested for each subject they teach, so if a teacher teaches multiple subjects, multiple tests will be needed.

Additionally, the music students at Van Alstyne High School have been experiencing success, with Cutler Cannon, Allie van Sice, Andrez Tarango, and Nate Montgomery showcasing their performance piece “The Entertainer” at the board meeting.

Van Alstyne, along with Farmersville, Howe and Gunter, are the four schools from the region who currently are in the running for state competition. The two top schools in the area will advance in June to possibly compete at state level.

The Van Alstyne High School spring concert with be held next Thursday, April 27.