MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — McAllen teachers are upset with proposed teacher pay raises.

The McAllen American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is unhappy with the McAllen ISD’s proposal of raising staff pay by 2%.

“Every category is underpaid, everyone, this is including administration,” said Sylvia Tanguma, president of the McAllen AFT. “Everyone is getting underpaid when it comes to state and national pay, but the one that sticks out is teacher pay.”

Tanguma said the Texas AFT conducted a study that collected the average pay of teachers and staff and compared it to the state’s average pay wage.

The study collected over 10 years of data, according to Tanguma.

“About 5 years ago we started going down on teacher pay, as of right now we are well below the state average,” said Tanguma. “McAllen ISD, as of 2021, average teacher pay is at a negative 7.74 percent when you tie in inflation.”

McAllen ISD was given about $130 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER), meant to aid the safe return of students nationwide back into the classroom post-pandemic social distancing.

Tanguma said some teachers were not in support of McAllen ISD’s ESSER spending.

“One of the things that we were completely against is Quinta Mazatlan, $4 million of ESSER money went to Quinta Mazatlan,” said Tanguma.

McAllen ISD responded and said 3% of the ESSER funds were invested in a science program at the Quinta Mazatlan nature center and gave a one-time payment of $5,000 to each staff member.

The school district arrived at the figure 2% based on a budget that is sustainable.

“The pay increase is based on the budget calculations of district staff. Public school districts get funding from three sources: state, federal and local tax dollars. The state is the largest of these at approximately 51% of our budget. Local property taxes cover slightly more than 39% while federal allotments are nearly 10%,” a spokesperson for McAllen ISD said in a statement.

The board of trustees will vote on teacher pay on June 13.