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EPISD proposes to cut $1K stipend for kindergarten teachers

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Independent School District has proposed to cut the yearly stipend for kindergarten teachers.

School officials told KFOX 14 that the proposal comes as the district is facing a $12 million deficit.

"Particularly a kindergarten stipend is a stipend that other districts are not using, and that we've had for a very long time," said Robert Almanzan, EPISD associate superintendent for human resources.

Almanzan said EPISD first began providing the stipends when kindergarten teachers were teaching two different sections.

However, he said kindergarten teachers haven't taught two sections in 17 years.

"What we're trying to do is modernize our work and be more efficient, in how we compensate our teachers," Almanzan said.

EPISD said there are 260 kindergarten teachers that receive a $1,000 stipend every year.

Suzanna Moody has been a kindergarten teacher in the El Paso Independent School District for 10 years.

She said even with the $1,000 stipend, she still has to pay hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket for supplies for her classroom.

"I can tell you at the beginning of the school year that I spend about $300 of my own money on the kids," Moody said. "If I were to lose it, honestly, I would be suffering a pay cut."

Moody said she understands the district needs to save money, but she said taking money from teachers is not the way to do it.

"I know good teachers, are going to provide those tools, regardless, but it's nice to feel supported in what we do, and given that extra money," Moody said. "It does help, every little bit helps."

Almanzan said this is only a proposal and that the board will vote on the final budget at a later date.