Elexis Coby is about to start her first education job at Ned E. Williams Elementary School. And on Friday, the third-grade teacher found out she is set to make $6,720 more a year than she expected.

Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox announced Friday during teacher convocation at Lobo Coliseum that the school board is set to approve a little more than $8 million in staff raises at its Aug. 28 meeting.

The raises come out of money provided to school districts from House Bill 3, or the school finance bill, that was passed in the recent legislative session. The bill mandates districts use part of the funds for salary raises.

“Think about that — over $8 million. That’s additional compensation from what you were paid last year,” Wilcox said. “So those first-year teachers now, you’re going to get $6,720 more than what you thought you were going to get when you signed on to work at the school.

“For those experienced teachers ... the highest raises for our experienced 20-year teachers is going to be $7,400. Every other full-time employee of the district, you’re going to get a $3,327 raise.”

Wilcox said the starting teacher salary in the district will be $47,000 — an almost 17% increase. A teacher with 20 or more of years of experience, which is the top pay level, will be boosted up to more than $58,000 annually.

It was unclear Friday how the proposed raises would affect other teachers in the district. Right now, teachers with up to 14 years of experience make less than the $47,000 annual salary that is proposed for first-year educators, according to LISD’s pay scale

Board President and Place 4 Trustee Ginia Northcutt said the board appreciates the district’s teachers.

“Longview ISD is a place of excellence because of every person here in this room,” she told the staff members in Lobo Coliseum. “We are a place of excellence because of you, you’re what makes us great. You believe, like I do, every child deserves the best education possible.”

Coby said she is excited about starting the school year. As a Longview ISD graduate, she said she is ready to learn from teachers who are part of a district that had an impact on her.

“It’s weird, it’s like it’s full circle because you never thought you’d be back teaching,” she said. “And a lot of my classmates now have children here, so it’s kind of weird.”

The district also brought in former NFL player and motivational speaker Keith Davis to address the teachers.

“Though I’m not from Texas, I know one thing: They can play some football in Longview, Texas,” he said. “It is my goal to encourage you, to inspire you. This is going to be a great year, a phenomenal year.”

Davis talked about four different types of dreams for teachers ranging from a “little dream” to a “big ol’ dream.”

“We will not let our students settle; no matter what kind of poverty or past they are from, it’s not how we start, it’s how we finish,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the color of their skin, how much money their mama has, their grandmother has, it doesn’t matter. They were not born to be average; we’re Longview Texas.”

The first day of school for Longview ISD is Aug. 19.