The Stephenville Independent School Board of Trustees is taking care of business by taking care of teachers with a new salary schedule. Teachers will be rewarded during the coming school year with a pay hike that also encourages the pursuit of masterís and doctoral degrees.

During Monday nightís board meeting, a new salary schedule was unanimously approved.

The state sets the pay scale for teachers that increase with each year of service and each district can provide local money on top.

Effective with the new school year a bachelorís degree will increase from $2,800 to $3,300, a masterís degree will go up to $4,100 from $3,100 and a doctoral degree will earn $4,900, up from $3400, in added district funds.

For example, a teacher with 10 years of experience and a bachelorís degree earns $40,340 (set by the state) plus $3,300 in district monies. The gap increases get wider for each level of education the teacher is willing to invest in.

Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said he hopes to attract quality teachers to the district, as well as see an increase in the number of masterís degrees and doctoral degrees held by Stephenville teachers.

Floyd said paraprofessionals and others would receive roughly a three percent increase and no mention was made of what principals and other administrators would be receiving.

The board also heard a glowing report from Stephenville High School Principal Travis Stilwell regarding the Class of 2007ís ACT (American Collegiate Testing) scores. The class scored 22 points, which was well above the state average of 20.5 in composite scores. The test covers each core academic subject of English, Mathematics, Reading and Science and in every case the students "blew the top off," Floyd said.

Stilwell said he attributed the high scores to high student expectations, good teaching and a bright class.

The board also discussed proposed budget and tax rate numbers that are expected to be approved during the Aug. 30 board meeting. The maintenance and operation tax rate will decrease from $1.37 to $1.04 with the interest and sinking rate expected to be set at .1520.

"I feel confident we should be able to make ends meet in a very adequate fashion for our students and employees," Floyd said.