The Richardson ISD Board of Trustees approved stipends for teachers and special education staff at its regular meeting Monday night.

RISD Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone recommended one-time stipends of $500 for every classroom teacher working in the district as of the first day of school, which is Thursday Aug. 15.

Dr. Stone also recommended an ongoing increase in the stipend that central program special education classroom teachers receive to $4,000 from the already budgeted $2,000, as well as implementing a recurring stipend of $1,500 for the central program special education paraprofessionals, who work daily with some of RISD’s most fragile and high-need students.

The budget amendments will result in an overall impact of nearly $2 million.

Over the summer, Dr. Stone and her staff surveyed the roughly 2,600 RISD teachers about the level of out-of-pocket expenses they incur on materials for their classrooms. The survey received 1,375 responses. For veteran teachers, 52% said they spent $250 or more on classroom supplies and 12% reported spending more than $500.

Almost two-thirds of first-year teachers have spent more than $250 to be ready for the first day of school, and one-third said they’ve already spent more than $500.

“Taking this information in conjunction with the Board’s objectives to support teachers and value all their hard work and commitment, these stipends would lighten the load of what they spend,” Dr. Stone said during her recommendation.

RISD staff also identified gaps in compensation for special education teachers and aides that hinder the district’s efforts to remain competitive with other area school districts in recruiting and filling these high-turnover positions.

Dr. Stone recommended doubling the stipend for RISD’s centralized special classroom teachers to $4,000 and a $1,500 stipend for central special education classroom aides within the district’s PPCD, Developmental, Structured Autism and PASS programs.

The Board unanimously approved both recommendations, and the first portion of the stipends will appear starting with September paychecks.

RISD Board Approves Stipends for Classroom Teachers, SPED Staff was originally published in Richardson ISD Newsdesk on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.