EducationLocal NewsTaxes & SpendingSchool Districts Raise Principals’ Pay During COVID-19 Slump Across Texas

Some of the state's largest districts doled out thousands in pay raises as restrictions tightened financial belts around Texas.
October 8, 2020
Over the summer, school districts across the state gave pay raises to administrators as coronavirus restrictions shook the Texas economy.

Using the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) list of the 20 biggest schools in the state, The Texan culled data from all schools whose pay scales were readily available online.

While Dallas ISD held salaries for school executive directors solid between this and last school year, salaries for principals climbed as much as $16,000 in some categories. The pay for exemplary principals at magnet high schools in Dallas ISD jumped from $128,000 to $144,000. In the lowest pay grade for elementary magnet school principals, the salary jumped from $85,500 to $100,000. Raises of around $5,000 to $10,000 were more typical. Magnet schools are public schools that teach specialized classes, such as the Booker T. Washington Performing Arts School in Dallas.

Conroe ISD raised its midpoint pay scale for elementary and ninth grade principals by almost $5,000, from a salary of $102,574 to $107,231. The minimum pay for high school principals jumped a little higher, from $117,247 to $122,598.

Pay raises in El Paso ISD were more modest. Principals from middle to high school saw raises of around $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the pay grade.

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Katy ISD, which measures pay grades for administrators by the day rather than the year for its administrators in the budget, gave its principals a raise of about one to two dollars per day depending on the pay grade. Lewisville ISD also measures by the day and allocated around four to seven dollars more per day to high school principals in its salary schedule. School budgets typically measure 224 or 226 days in a principal’s school year schedule, putting Lewisville’s pay raise between $1,000 and $1,500 for the new year.

Pasadena ISD raised its salaries for all principals around two thousand dollars across the pay grades.

Principals in Round Rock saw a slight bump of around $1,000 more for the 2020-2021 school year.

Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD, and Fort Worth ISD both kept salaries fixed for principals across the board.

These districts decided to raise salaries in meetings over the 2020 summer, after rising infection numbers sowed suspicion of school reopenings and around the time the pandemic peaked in July. Dallas ISD approved its compensation scale at a June 25th board meeting, Klein ISD approved a 2% pay increase for all employees on June 22nd, and Conroe ISD voted on its budget in August when infection numbers had begun to drop.

Here is a TEA “snapshot” of the 20 school districts that have 50,000 students or more. Below are links to the school’s relevant budget websites and compensation plan documents where possible.

The percentages only compare the highest possible salaries for principals between school years, so lower pay grades may have higher raises, as in Dallas where traditional high school principals earn the most but received a comparatively smaller potential raise than some magnet high school principals.


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.