By Andy Sevilla
After battling for seven months, Hays CISD school counselors received a 1.5 percent mid-year pay increase Monday, a salary adjustment they argued should have been in place since the beginning of the school year.
“While we can’t change the past, we can change the future,” Hays High School Counselor Bonnie Bosarg told the school board during public comment. “Please consider adopting the pay scale presented to you … it is fair and it is equitable.”
Since May, school counselors have voiced discontent from being moved from a pay scale, where they could have earned a three-percent pay increase this year, to a pay grade that earned them only a 1.5 percent pay jump.
The counselors’ fight for better pay spilled over onto the dais where members, in a tense split vote, approved salary adjustment.
“I will be voting ‘no’ on this matter,” school board president Robert Limon said. “I think to raise the pay of one group, and not know the impact, and not even consider this evening all the other employee groups that are probably in a worse-off situation, is not a responsible action to take this evening.”
Several other Hays CISD employee groups also are below market rates for their positions. The school board is slated to consider pay adjustments for other staff in January.
“Good leadership, a lot of times is not doing what’s popular, it shouldn’t be about what’s popular, it’s about doing what’s right,” Limon said. “And I don’t think taking this action this evening is the right thing to do.”
School board vice president Holly Raymond cautioned Limon on dismissing the counselor pay adjustment as not ‘right.’
“I think that we need to be careful when we talk about what’s right or wrong,” Raymond said. “Because right or wrong really is a matter of opinion. And by supporting the counselors and the issues that we’ve had, that are so numerous, it really is almost embarrassing… I think is the first step in fixing what we need to do.”
Raymond added that the board would continue to deliberate potential pay disparities among different employee groups next month.
Limon and board member Marty Kanetzky were the two members to vote against the counselor pay adjustment. Both expressed an interest in waiting to adjust salaries once pay for all employees had been examined.