LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – The Lufkin ISD Board of Trustees approved a competitive compensation plan on Thursday night, that includes a 3.5% pay raise for all employees.

According to a release, the pay increase will require the board to adopt a $3.6 million deficit budget.

The ISD’s CFO Charlotte Bynum said that many school districts are adopting these new budgets to accommodate raises during the decline in student enrollment.

“This pay raise, along with our retention and new hire incentive, as well as the sign-on bonus for teachers in critical areas of need will help Lufkin ISD remain competitive in recruiting and retaining quality employees,” Bynum said.

According to Bynum, the district will lose over $3 million of funding from the state for the 2022-22023 school year following the decline in enrollment and reduction of its taxing ability. Without the employee raise, Bynum said that the board would be facing a $1.6 million deficit in the budget.

The new budget will come up for approval in August at that month’s board meeting.

Superintendent Lynn Torres said that while she is glad the board will be increasing salaries, adopting a new deficit budget will come with its own challenges.

“To make up the difference, we will need to become more efficient than ever,” Torres said. “We need to encourage our legislators to make school finance changes that will be equitable for all schools.”

This changes comes after the Chapel Hill, Longview, Carthage, Tatum, Elysian Fields, Timpson and Wills Point ISDs approved their own compensation plans that give pay raises to employees.