By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The Mustang School District has a rosy financial picture, helping it give teachers bigger raises than it had expected – with the goal of keeping and attracting top educators.
Chief Financial Officer Nancy McKay painted that picture at Monday’s school board meeting and in an interview later.
Since the beginning of school two years ago, the raises for starting teachers total $8,710 – going to $41,220 from $32,510.
Strong state revenue, growing property tax income and cost-savings by the school district have contributed to the district’s financial stability, McKay said.
One indicator of strong revenue for Mustang Schools is that the state gross production tax, which comes from crude oil and natural gas drilling, rose statewide by 26.8% from May of last year to May of this year.
“I use statewide revenue like this as a measuring stick of state’s strong financial picture,” McKay said.
One way that Mustang Schools have saved money is through energy conservation.
“We’ve added three schools in the last two years, but our energy costs are about the same as they were before,” McKay said.
The raises for first-year teachers with no experience over the past two year included a $5,000 statewide hike that the Legislature approved after last year’s teachers’ walkout.
In April, the district funded raises based on $2,488 for a first-year teacher on its own – without a state mandate.
In late May, it added raises of $1,220.