It's the biggest budget in Austin Independent School District's history -- close to $1 billion.
Among many changes, teachers will see a 1.5 percent pay raise, or at least $2,000. As a result of the last legislative session, AISD received about $12.9 million toward restoring a $60 million loss in the previous session. The boost will help, but officials say they are still trailing behind competitors.
"One of the things that I hope the community will appreciate is we have a lot of good teachers and administrators in the district and we need to continue to stay competitive with them," school board president Vincent Torres said. "It doesn't really help us catch up. If anything, I would say it allows us to maintain or perhaps not fall further behind, but it doesn't help us to move up or gain any ground on our competitors.”
Though the massive budget does include pay raises, some point to the disparity in pay between top level officials and some lower level AISD employees.
"This is a public school district, it is supposed to be for the children,” Monica Guzman, a city resident, said. “You should be doing this because it is the right thing to do, not because it pays well.”
School Board Trustees also budgeted for expanding health benefits to same sex couples -- a first for the district. Despite the changes, the district is still operating over budget by tens of millions of dollars.
"And so now we're able to remain and have basically a stable operating budget without having to have layoffs this year even though we have a $30 million budget deficit," Torres said.
The annual budget takes 13 months to craft. School officials say work is already under way for next year.