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PNGISD budget includes employee raise, welding program upgrades

PORT NECHES — All employees within the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District are receiving a slight pay increase for the 2020-21 academic year.

“They work extremely hard to provide our students with the best education possible,” Superintendent Mike Gonzales said. “I wish it was possible to give our loyal, dedicated and talented staff a much larger raise. However, with the uncertainty of this school year and future budgets, it is important that our district continue to be fiscally responsible.”

The raises were passed this week during the district’s budget workshop.

Raises included a one percent employee bump for the 2020-21 school year.

Budget discussions also included $327,000 for a health insurance increase, 12 new positions, Christmas stipends and a raise estimate.

Gonzales said staff members deserve every pay increase they are given.

Teachers alone will receive a step raise with a guaranteed one percent while other paid positions round out to a 1.6 percent increase.

Assistant Superintendent Julie Gauthier said the 12 new positions were required due to a rise in student numbers.

“The new positions are teacher positions that have been approved at the last few meetings due to student numbers,” she said. “They are special education teachers and grade level teachers. We also added a reading specialist to assist with the implementation of the TEA Reading Academies.”

Other budget items approved this week include four transactions over $25,000.

Along with the renewal of learning equipment and a 40-foot-by-60-foot concrete slab for the metal building at the armory, the district acquired 15 Miller Automatic 220 AC/DC multipurpose welding workshops.

The new machines allow students to learn every welding process (GTAW, SMAW, FCAW and GMAW) and allow the teaching of high frequency weld, which is needed in industrial welding.

The Coastal Welding Supply purchase rounded out to $40,501.95.

Gonzales said it is important to continue improving PNG’s Career and Technology workforce departments.

“We are always excited to see our CTE programs doing well,” he said. “Those programs are providing our students with the education they need to rapidly and successfully move into those well-paid fields that are important to our local industry.”

School board members also set a public hearing on the 2021 budget and tax rate for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 10.

The current appraised taxable value is at $2.491 billion. The proposed tax rate under consideration is $1.3427/$100 of taxable value with a $1.0547 for Maintenance and Operations and $0.2880 for Interest and Sinking.