HISD board to vote on key issues today

HOUSTON Board members have plenty of issues to decide, including a proposed raise for teachers and help for workers to pay for gasoline.

That vote is scheduled to happen late this afternoon and it includes a plan to address the tough economic issues HISD employees are facing right now, specifically gas prices.

Superintendent /*Abe Saavedra*/'s budget proposal includes a $250 bonus to all the district's employees who make less than $30,000 a year, hopefully to offset the high price of gas. Along with that, there would be a salary increase for teachers of at least three percent.

HISD says it's trimming the budgets outside of the classroom to make room for more money in the classroom.

"We try to keep the cuts as much as possible out of the classroom," said HISD Spokesperson Terry Abbott. "In fact, our proposed new budget will increase the amount of money that we spend in the schools, per student, by about $10 million this year."

Abbott also says the pay raise for teachers helps to compensate them for the high price of fuel as well. Many of them drive in from surrounding communities to work at Houston schools.

The HISD school board will also vote on a plan to make the cafeterias greener. The plan includes switching to biodegradable serving trays in school lunchrooms. If approved, the trays would be phased in at more than 190 elementary schools in August.

The trays would be put in all 300 school cafeterias in the coming years.

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