To the Editor:

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about (Killeen ISD Superintendent) Dr. John Craft’s large pay raise and if he deserves that big of a raise. Several of the current school board members have stated that his salary was not comparable to his peers.

Others take the position that if we give the superintendent a pay raise comparable to his peers, then we should also pay our teachers comparable to their peers.

This argument has gone back and forth since Dr. Craft’s pay raise was announced. I was curious how the district’s actual pay rates compare to other districts of equal size.

So I did some research. According to the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) October 2018 report, the Killeen Independent School District is number 26 (in size) out of 1,208 school districts, with an enrollment of 44,974 students. There are 13 school districts with a student enrollment between 40,031 and 50,387 — roughly the size of KISD.

According to TEA’s 2018 figures, Dr. Craft’s base pay is the lowest salary for a superintendent within those 13 districts (that is before his pay raise). With his salary of $310,000, he will move to the 7th position on the list. That is assuming none of the other superintendents received a pay raise since 2018.

To answer the other side of the discussion, if KISD teachers are also behind the peers, I again looked at TEA reports.

According to TEA’s salary report for the 2018-2019 school year, teachers for the Killeen Independent School District are the 3rd-lowest paid of the 13 districts.

The average base pay for all grade levels in KISD is $53,362. The average teacher pay for all 13 districts is $55,166.46. On the other hand, the KISD base pay for an educational aide is $16,547. That is the lowest pay for all 13 districts for such a position. In fact, it is far behind the other districts and is about $5,000 below the average annual salary of $21,586 for comparable positions.

For me that was shocking fact. I could not believe the district’s pay rate was so low compared to the other districts’ rate of pay for an aide position.

Under Texas Senate Bill 3, if it passes, teachers would receive a $5,000 pay increase across the state. That would still leave KISD having one of the lowest salaries for teachers within comparable size districts. Senate Bill number 3 does not mention educational aides, just teachers.

I purposely did not address whether Dr Craft’s performance merits the raise or not. That is for each of us to decide and then support the candidate who has similar views.

I just wanted to provide some factual information related to the ongoing arguments.

I would also request the school board take a serious look at the educational aides’ rate of pay.

Dirk Davis

Killeen

(1) comment

oldguy

Are there other characteristics of an ISD we can use to compare superintendent salary? For example the tax base of the ISD? Or revenue generated from the local tax base? Or local taxes spent per student? From what I see, 11 superintendents in the 39,000 to 49,000 student size are paid more than Dr. Kraft. Of the 11, eight have a larger tax base than KISD, some as high as 16 to 17 billion dollars (Killeen's is about $6 billion). One district, Garland, has 56,000 students, a $13 billion tax base, and pays its superintendent far less, $210K. Of the 11 districts all except one generate more revenue from local taxes than does Killeen. Of the 11 districts all spend more per student from local taxes than does Killeen. While student headcount is one factor on which to base superintendent pay, if it comes down to $$$ and when $$$ alone are considered, KISD should not be grouped with these 11 other districts which pay more.

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