Carter in the classroom

DeSoto ISD Approves Teacher Pay Increase as It Welcomes New Superintendent

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There will soon be more money on the table for teachers in DeSoto ISD. The district's new superintendent, Dr. Usamah Rodgers proposed a $6,500 annual teacher pay hike.

"I know it's a long time coming," said DeSoto ISD School Board President, DeAndrea Fleming. "We've had loss of staff, budget cuts. We've had to release staff."

Fleming says the district is turning the tide. The new starting salary for teachers is $58,500 and there will be raises for current teachers.

"It feels awesome, I'm really in a space where you're looking at things in a half-empty situation and in leadership we try to look half-full but today is a day where we can finally say the cup is full. We're committed to students, communities, teachers, we have a superintendent who understands the assignment," Fleming said.

Just six days on the job, Dr. Rodgers presented the pay hike plan to the board hoping it will help recruit new teachers who are in need, though the district would not put a specific number on it when asked.

DeSoto ISD has scheduled job fairs this summer, and are hoping the increased pay will help them fill their open teaching postings.

The district is touting new gains as reasons why DeSoto is more appealing.

"Our district is showing preliminarily on our STAAR results, double-digit gains and so in the midst of returning from the pandemic, teacher shortages, the story people didn't hear is that in the midst of all of this, DeSoto ISD showed up every day for students," Rodgers said.

She joined the district from Dallas ISD where she led Strategic Initiatives, like the use of technology programs in classrooms.

Fleming calls it all a new day in DeSoto. She's confident their past issues with budgeting, discipline and performance are behind them.

"It is our rebirth, it is our season our moment to show people what we been designated and designed to do," Fleming said.

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