Montgomery ISD board members sworn into office

Trustees also select board officer positions for 2021-22 school year and receive update on district strategic plan

Two Montgomery ISD trustees were sworn into office during the board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 18. Montgomery County Justice of the Peace, Judge Wayne Mack administered the oath of office to Trustees Trey Kirby (Position 4) and Linda Porten (Position 5), who were both re-elected on May 1, 2021. 

Kirby and Porten will both serve three-year terms. Kirby, a resident of Montgomery since 1987 and graduate of Montgomery High School, begins his third term on the MISD Board of Trustees.

“It’s an honor to have been elected to a third term as a member of the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees,” Kirby said. I am excited to continue serving with the board and administration as we build upon the momentum we have achieved as a team. We remain committed to improving fiscal responsibility while taking care of our outstanding students and teachers. This community is very dear to me, and I look forward to serving for the next three years as Montgomery continues to grow and thrive.”

Porten, a lifelong educator who spent several years as an employee in Montgomery ISD, enters her second term on the Board.

“It’s a privilege to serve as a member of the Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees,” Porten said. “As a trustee, I’m committed to continuing to build upon the significant progress the board and superintendent have made to support our amazing teachers and staff through increased compensation. There is no doubt in my mind that our commitment to hiring, growing and retaining the best educators will empower all MISD students to achieve even greater academic results.”  

After the oaths of office, trustees voted to elect its board leadership for the 2021-22 school year. Trustees selected Matt Fuller to continue serving as Board President. Gary Hammons will continue serving as Board Vice-President and Linda Porten will remain Board Secretary. 

“I want to thank our staff, students, and families for their determination, resilience, and flexibility during what has been a difficult, but highly successful school year,” Fuller said. “Through extreme adversity, our students reached new heights in academics, athletics and many extracurricular activities. I’m excited to continue serving Montgomery ISD as President of the Board of Trustees and look forward to an outstanding – and more normal – school year in 2021-22.”

Trustees gave special recognition to the district’s school nurses during the meeting. School nurses were instrumental in supporting students’ physical and emotional wellbeing during a school year with added stresses and health protocols.

“It undoubtedly took a full team effort to safely re-open schools for in-person instruction this year, and the work of our school nurses was especially critical,” Trustee Mike Hopkins said. “They were a primary reason that nearly 94% of our students chose to physically return to school, and we are incredibly grateful for their dedication and work this year.”

During the meeting, trustees also received an update on the development of the district’s strategic plan. The three-year strategic plan is guided the Board of Trustees’ five adopted district goals. The district goals are Academic Achievement; School Safety; Finance & Operations; Human Capital; and Communications & Customer Service. 

The development of the strategic plan has included a significant amount of community and stakeholder input. To gather feedback, the district formed five task force work groups in November 2020, each focused on a district goal. The five task forces were led by a senior district administrator and campus principals and included district teachers, staff, parents, students and community members. The district also held three town hall meetings throughout the school year to gather community input.

“We’re thrilled by the high level of community involvement that has been a driving force in the development of the district’s strategic plan,” Trustee Laurie Turner said. “We have made it clear that we truly want this to be the Montgomery ISD community’s strategic plan. Based on the district’s efforts to involve a diverse set of voices during this process, I’m confident that, once adopted by the board, this objective will have been achieved.”  

Once approved by the board, the final strategic plan will take effect starting in the 2021-22 school year and contain measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) in the areas addressed by the district goals. The strategic plan will also outline district strategies and initiatives intended to meet or exceed growth targets and measures outlined in the KPIs.

The strategic plan is scheduled to be approved by trustees during the board’s regular monthly meeting on June 15, 2021. 

“Since day one of this process, our goal for the strategic plan was to authentically reflect the community’s desires and vision for our school district,” Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. “Our community’s vision is for Montgomery ISD to be ‘The Premier School District in Texas. The strategic plan is our ‘pathway to premier’.” 

Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees adopts 2021-22 District Compensation Plan 

Trustees approve raises for all district employees, including additional $3,300 for teachers 

The Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees adopted a compensation plan for the 2021-22 school year containing across-the-board salary increases for all district employees during their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 20. In total, the compensation plan includes an additional $3.8 M in salary and stipend increases across all employee groups.   

The adopted Montgomery ISD Compensation Plan for the 2021-22 school features an additional $3,300 raise (approximately 5%) for current MISD teachers and an additional 3% raise for all other employee groups. These increases are in addition to the 2% across-the-board pay raises approved by the Board for all district employees earlier this school year. With the adoption of this compensation plan, in 18 months, current Montgomery ISD teachers will have received an approximate 7% total pay increase, or a total of $4,055, with all other employee groups receiving a 5% total raise. Additionally, employee stipends that had been previously decreased or eliminated during the previous budget cycle have been restored in the adopted compensation plan.   

“Our dedicated employees in Montgomery ISD have stepped up in so many ways during this challenging year,” Board President Matt Fuller said. “I could not be more thankful for their tireless efforts this school year, and, while I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do even more for our employees, I’m excited that the compensation plan adopted by the board tonight provides them with well-earned raises entering the next school year.”  

The compensation plan also increases the pay scale on the district’s teacher salary schedule. A first-year teacher entering Montgomery ISD will now have a starting salary of $54,450. The previous salary for a first-year teacher in Montgomery ISD was $51,000.  

In addition to approving the district’s compensation plan, trustees also approved teacher contracts for the 2021-22 school year. 

“The raises provided to teachers and district staff are not only well-deserved but also exercise the fiscal responsibility needed to ensure we have the opportunity to approve a balanced district budget heading into the next school year,” Board Vice-President Gary Hammons said. “For the first time, our board has simultaneously adopted a compensation plan along with teacher contracts. This approach to budgeting displays an ability to manage the district’s budget responsibly while prioritizing our valuable employees.”  

Trustees are expected to adopt the district’s annual operating budget during its monthly Board meeting in June.  

“Our school district budget should always be aligned with our priorities,” Trustee Trey Kirby said. “I’m pleased with how this compensation plan adopted by the board recognizes the hard work of our teachers and staff this year through a targeted, data-driven approach to providing increases to district salaries.”  

Highlights of the Montgomery ISD 2021-22 Compensation Plan include the following:   

  • Current MISD teachers receive a $3,300 pay raise (approximately 5%), for a total of 7% over 18 months when factoring in the 2% raise provided in October – for a total raise of $4,055.   
  • All other district employees receive a 3% pay raise, for a total of 5% over 18 months when factoring in the 2% raise provided in October.   
  • The teacher salary schedule has been extended from 22 to 30 years. (Employees on the teacher pay scale with more than 30 years still receive annual pay increases approved by the Board)   
  • Salary scales have been increased (Minimum, Midpoint, Maximum). Raises are calculated based on the increased salary midpoint.   
  • Stipends reduced in summer 2020 have been restored to their previous amount.  

The 2021-22 Montgomery ISD Compensation Plan can be viewed here.  

“Earlier this school year, after approving an ongoing 2% raise for all district employees, the board and superintendent made a firm commitment to seek additional pay increases for our teachers and district staff,” Board Secretary Linda Porten said. “I’m hopeful and excited about the path we are headed as it relates to compensating our wonderful employees in Montgomery ISD. They truly represent the heart and soul of this district, and we must continue to prioritize their compensation.”  

During the meeting, MISD trustees also approved a Request for Proposal from Cenergistic, an award-winning energy management consultant firm. Cenergistic will advise the district on energy management and consult on best practices for energy efficiencies across all campuses and facilities. The district anticipates realizing a net savings of at least $300,000 in the first year of the partnership and continued significant savings over the following five years.  

Seeking responsible efficiencies through energy management is one of the strategies the district will continue to engage in when identifying financial savings across the district. Earlier this school year, the district also engaged with the Texas Association of School Boards to conduct a comprehensive review of district staffing across all levels and provide options to increase efficiencies. The district implemented options in the TASB study to identify $2.4 M in savings without a reduction in force. 

“The work behind balancing the district’s budget and seeking efficiencies necessary to provide our amazing teachers and district employees has truly been a journey,” Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said. “This was a deliberative, input-driven process. We still have work to do relating to compensation. But I hope the effort put forth in this compensation plan is a strong illustration of our commitment to prioritizing employee pay through transparent and responsible fiscal management.”