MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Mission Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees announced they will be providing a pay increase for teachers and staff for the upcoming school year during their board meeting.

The pay increase comes at a time that Mission High School teacher, Jose Escamilla, said is perfect.

“This is like a relief with everything and the price of living increasing and things like that, it’s a really good relief for us,” said Escamilla.

He said he and his colleagues knew there was an announcement coming up but they were happy to learn it was a $2,000 pay increase.

“With this whole year being the way it was and trying to transition kids back, students back and also administration and teachers back, everybody back, it was tough. It seems like a nice little reward for sticking it out and continuing on and pushing through and it just feels like we’re being taken care of,” he said.

Dr. Carol G. Perez, superintendent of school for Mission CISD, said the pay increase was in the works for a few years.

“Our goal was to make sure that we retained our highly qualified staff in all facets of our Mission CISD organization. So, we started working four years ago,” said Perez.

Perez explained that the pay increases will benefit all teachers and staff.

“A $2,000 increase for all teachers and a 3.5% (increase) for all other staff and a $1,000 retention stipend,” she said.

The retention stipend is set to be paid to all employees who are hired before Sept. 3, 2022, and the amount will be split into two payments.

The pay increases put the school district at 6.4% above the market in Region One, according to Perez.

The school district’s estimated costs for the general pay increases are approximately $7.1 million dollars.

“The staff is just feeling valued for what they do because being in the trenches in the front lines you know they have done an amazing job based on what they have had to do, especially living through a pandemic,” she said.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement, Escamilla said he was contacted by several colleagues about the pay increases.

“Celebration, happiness, high fives, big smiles. They’ve all called me or texted me or video chatted with me that they’re so excited,” he said.

Perez said they study the market yearly and adds that she believes the best is yet to come at Mission CISD.