AUSTIN – Texas Public Policy Foundation Director of the Center for Local Governance James Quintero and Economist Dr. Vance Ginn issued the following statements on the San Antonio Independent School District Board’s approval of a minimum wage increase for all non-exempt, permanent, full-time employees for the 2016-17 school year. The increase in the hourly rate from $10 to $12 is tantamount to a 20 percent pay raise and comes at a difficult time for the district’s finances.
“San Antonio ISD’s decision to hike the minimum wage by 20 percent is mindboggling. The district is deeply in debt and it’s losing student enrollment,” said James Quintero, director of the Center for Local Governance. “According to the latest debt data, SAISD owes more than $1 billion right now. If the district has extra money in its budget, then it ought to be going to pay down this monstrous sum. In addition, the district is also seeing its student population in decline. From the school years 2004-05 to 2013-14, the district’s student enrollment declined by 4.9 percent, while at the same time the rest of the state’s enrollment grew by almost 15 percent.”
“Defying basic economics and their dire fiscal situation, San Antonio ISD unfortunately raises workers’ pay based on politics instead of merit,” said Dr. Vance Ginn, economist with the Center for Fiscal Policy. “Given the limited taxpayer dollars the district has available, providing merit-based pay increases per worker instead of increasing pay for workers with different levels of productivity and experience that are at or below $12 per hour would best serve taxpayers, workers, and students.”
Ph.D. Economist at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Blog posts are publications by the author.