Stafford MSD board hopes to retain more teachers with new budget

By Karen Daniels
For The Star

Stafford resident Hilary Brown-Smith hopes that Stafford Municipal School District can give its teachers salaries that are competitive with other districts in the area.

Brown-Smith, the parent of two SMSD students and another that graduated recently, hopes the district’s 2014-15 budget can address the cause of the district’s 23 percent turnover rate.

“We must pay people what there are worth if our goal is to have the best teachers,” Brown-Smith said. “(Superintedent) Dr. (Robert) Bostic’s primary goal is to give the district the best profile to prospective applicants. Therefore he must realize the shortfall and meet that challenge head on.”

To stay competitive, the district’s $27.3 million budget includes a 3 percent raise for all SMSD staff – for the second straight year. The district is waiting until Sept. 4 for final numbers from the Fort Bend County Appraisal District and the Harris County Appraisal District.

Property values have increased by 7 percent, but many are homes still in protest and numbers haven’t been finalized. That makes it impossible for districts to complete their budgets.

The SMSD Board of Trustees and Stafford City Council discussed the turnover rate at a joint meeting on July 23, and Bostic said “research shows low score relate to high turnover.”

The final joint budget meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7.

To help improve test scores and the district overall, Bostic is requesting $220,000 for two new positions, Deputy Superintendent and ESL Coordinator/ Grant Writer and $100,000 for after school programs.

Health insurance costs have risen on average $85 per month for a family.

Costs have also risen with Information Technology – from $610,000 last year to a requested amount of $846,000 for the 2014-15 budget.

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