McAllen ISD board members have a big decision to make as a new school year rolls around. McAllen's American Federation of Teachers has been putting up a fight for 3 years now for money for certain employees of the district.
"They gave the raise, but they didn't give the STEP as required by the state." Ruth Skow is the president of the McAllen organization and says teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors and speech pathologists should have seen an increase in pay every year for longevity with McAllen ISD. After the board voted against it in 2009, she took her grievence to the Texas Education Agency which this month directed McAllen's school board to pay the employees the compensation they're entitled.
There was a major hiccup in the decision. The TEA only recommends the board give the STEP to AFT members.
"There are people here in the community who are being rather negative saying that we only did it for our members, but that wasn't true. When you get to an administrative judge and you are the only one on the case, organization wise, well then that's what he decided to do." Skow says she started this battle for the betterment of all employees district-wide who qualified for the pay increases each year... And didn't do it for the sole purpose of protecting the organization's members.
"That was not our intent. Our intent was that every employee in the 5 different groups should receive the STEP."
She says it's now in the school board's hands to "do the right thing".
"I think it's political suicide not to do that."