News

PUSD classified staff denounce 'shameful' salary raises for administration

Also: Board of Trustees to appoint new principals at Walnut Grove and Alisal

Proposed compensation increases for Pleasanton Unified School District's administrative cabinet are raising eyebrows among rank-and-file staff members, who say the pay raises are unnecessary and should be used to boost the down trending salaries of other PUSD employees instead. The Board of Trustees will consider the salary increases during their regular meeting on Thursday, starting 7 p.m.

Five district cabinet members including Superintendent David Haglund are set to finalize new employment agreements with PUSD. The contracts stipulate a 3.5% increase in salary and fully covered health, vision and dental benefits for the employee as well as their spouse and dependents.

Along with extending his term for one additional year, thereby creating a new four year agreement, Haglund's base salary is set at $317,148. The agreement -- which takes effect July 1 and expires June 30, 2025 -- also "provides longevity benefits at the beginning of the 5th and 7th year of service" and keeps all existing contract provisions "in full force and effect."

Contracts for assistant superintendents Janelle Woodward, Julio Hernandez, Ed Diolazo, and Ahmad Sheikholeslami also stipulate similar dates, terms and conditions but extended their terms for a three-year agreement, instead of four, and will each receive a base salary of $222,252. The 3.5% compensation increase for all five cabinet members will extract about $54,143 from the district General Fund.

Classified staff members who contacted the Weekly expressing their disappointment with the contracts said they understand "the district has a contractual commitment to give the 3.5% increase, but the timing and optics of this could not be worse."

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Noting that teachers and classified staff pay for their medical coverage and only receive a stipend "that covers just themselves for the lowest quality option," Vintage Hills Elementary School technology specialist Cheryl Vangundy said, "If anyone could afford to pay for their own medical benefits, it is these employees earning well over $200,000 per year."

"Classified staff are essential workers, and the majority have performed their duties in person during this difficult school year and they deserve a living wage," Vangundy said. "It is shameful that the district is even considering approving these administrative raises."

Vangundy said she and her colleagues are also frustrated by a district compensation analysis to be presented at Thursday's meeting, followed by a discussion. According to the presentation, New Haven Unified School District in Union City was ranked number one for teacher salaries among 15 school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties used as comparison groups, despite not having a parcel tax.

"PUSD often states that they have less funds than other districts because they don't have a parcel tax. Yet, New Haven figured out how to pay their teachers a top ranked salary," Vangundy said.

Last year 29 classifications were below the market mean, according to the compensation analysis, but Vangundy said those positions account for more than a third of classified staff, "nor does it state that PUSD has been below the 50th percentile in terms of compensation based on the local labor market rate for some time." A compensation study from last year left many employees without any pay raise.

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On Thursday, the Board is also expected to announce several new public employee coordinator appointments, three of which are new job descriptions approved last month. Compensation for the positions range between $133,695 to $147,609, with part of the money for those salaries coming from the unrestricted General Fund.

Vangundy denounced the move and said, "The district is always crying about a lack of funds, yet they have the funds to hire these three new coordinators."

In other business

** Following on the heels of a special meeting last week to discuss the district's Equity Master Plan, the Board will receive a 30-minute report on Thursday about improving "the accuracy, bias-resistance, and motivation" of grading practices among PUSD secondary grades.

According to district officials, one of the presentation's key goals is to "strengthen the sense of urgency and importance of equitable grading to ensure grading practices are accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational."

An outside consultant will give an overview and also explain the theory and framework for equitable grading that evening, in addition to sharing a professional development plan for teachers during the 2021-22 school year.

The 24-page presentation by Oakland-based Crescendo Education Group includes the "Three Pillars of Equitable Grading", which declares equitable grades "are accurate reflections of a student's academic performance," as well as "bias-resistant," and "motivational."

By tying grades to academic performance only instead of factors like attendance or extra credit, the report said students are usually less stressed, "more motivated and have more hope in possibility of academic success," and "have more positive and stronger relationships with teachers."

Equitable grading practices are also shown to help reduce achievement disparities, grade inflation, grade deflation, and "statistically significant increase in correlation between grades and standardized exam scores."

PUSD is currently planning a series of Equity Learning Design workshops that will kick off in September. During that time, secondary teachers will participate in action research, with each educator selecting an equitable grading practice to try and then later share the results. Individual half-hour coaching sessions will also be offered for teachers, who will be partnered with a teacher of the same or similar subject already experienced in equitable grading, as well as support and feedback.

** Towards the start of Thursday's meeting, the Board is expected to approve the appointment of two new elementary school principals.

After six years, Elias Muniz is stepping down from his role as principal at Hearst Elementary to become Alisal Elementary's new leader, effective July 1. Muniz will replace outgoing principal Karen Johnson, who was recently promoted to the district's language acquisition coordinator position.

Muniz has been with PUSD his entire educational career, starting as a Spanish dual-immersion teacher and eventually serving as vice principal at several PUSD sites -- sometimes working at more than one school at a time. He was originally selected for the job of interim principal at Hearst, then officially appointed in 2014.

Mohr Elementary principal Julie Berglin is also moving to a different school in the 2021-22 school year. Berglin, who has been at PUSD for almost 25 years and principal at Mohr since 2013, will replace outgoing principal Chris Connor at Walnut Grove Elementary, effective July 1. The reason for Connor's departure is unknown at this time.

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PUSD classified staff denounce 'shameful' salary raises for administration

Also: Board of Trustees to appoint new principals at Walnut Grove and Alisal

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 23, 2021, 5:15 pm

Proposed compensation increases for Pleasanton Unified School District's administrative cabinet are raising eyebrows among rank-and-file staff members, who say the pay raises are unnecessary and should be used to boost the down trending salaries of other PUSD employees instead. The Board of Trustees will consider the salary increases during their regular meeting on Thursday, starting 7 p.m.

Five district cabinet members including Superintendent David Haglund are set to finalize new employment agreements with PUSD. The contracts stipulate a 3.5% increase in salary and fully covered health, vision and dental benefits for the employee as well as their spouse and dependents.

Along with extending his term for one additional year, thereby creating a new four year agreement, Haglund's base salary is set at $317,148. The agreement -- which takes effect July 1 and expires June 30, 2025 -- also "provides longevity benefits at the beginning of the 5th and 7th year of service" and keeps all existing contract provisions "in full force and effect."

Contracts for assistant superintendents Janelle Woodward, Julio Hernandez, Ed Diolazo, and Ahmad Sheikholeslami also stipulate similar dates, terms and conditions but extended their terms for a three-year agreement, instead of four, and will each receive a base salary of $222,252. The 3.5% compensation increase for all five cabinet members will extract about $54,143 from the district General Fund.

Classified staff members who contacted the Weekly expressing their disappointment with the contracts said they understand "the district has a contractual commitment to give the 3.5% increase, but the timing and optics of this could not be worse."

Noting that teachers and classified staff pay for their medical coverage and only receive a stipend "that covers just themselves for the lowest quality option," Vintage Hills Elementary School technology specialist Cheryl Vangundy said, "If anyone could afford to pay for their own medical benefits, it is these employees earning well over $200,000 per year."

"Classified staff are essential workers, and the majority have performed their duties in person during this difficult school year and they deserve a living wage," Vangundy said. "It is shameful that the district is even considering approving these administrative raises."

Vangundy said she and her colleagues are also frustrated by a district compensation analysis to be presented at Thursday's meeting, followed by a discussion. According to the presentation, New Haven Unified School District in Union City was ranked number one for teacher salaries among 15 school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties used as comparison groups, despite not having a parcel tax.

"PUSD often states that they have less funds than other districts because they don't have a parcel tax. Yet, New Haven figured out how to pay their teachers a top ranked salary," Vangundy said.

Last year 29 classifications were below the market mean, according to the compensation analysis, but Vangundy said those positions account for more than a third of classified staff, "nor does it state that PUSD has been below the 50th percentile in terms of compensation based on the local labor market rate for some time." A compensation study from last year left many employees without any pay raise.

On Thursday, the Board is also expected to announce several new public employee coordinator appointments, three of which are new job descriptions approved last month. Compensation for the positions range between $133,695 to $147,609, with part of the money for those salaries coming from the unrestricted General Fund.

Vangundy denounced the move and said, "The district is always crying about a lack of funds, yet they have the funds to hire these three new coordinators."

In other business

** Following on the heels of a special meeting last week to discuss the district's Equity Master Plan, the Board will receive a 30-minute report on Thursday about improving "the accuracy, bias-resistance, and motivation" of grading practices among PUSD secondary grades.

According to district officials, one of the presentation's key goals is to "strengthen the sense of urgency and importance of equitable grading to ensure grading practices are accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational."

An outside consultant will give an overview and also explain the theory and framework for equitable grading that evening, in addition to sharing a professional development plan for teachers during the 2021-22 school year.

The 24-page presentation by Oakland-based Crescendo Education Group includes the "Three Pillars of Equitable Grading", which declares equitable grades "are accurate reflections of a student's academic performance," as well as "bias-resistant," and "motivational."

By tying grades to academic performance only instead of factors like attendance or extra credit, the report said students are usually less stressed, "more motivated and have more hope in possibility of academic success," and "have more positive and stronger relationships with teachers."

Equitable grading practices are also shown to help reduce achievement disparities, grade inflation, grade deflation, and "statistically significant increase in correlation between grades and standardized exam scores."

PUSD is currently planning a series of Equity Learning Design workshops that will kick off in September. During that time, secondary teachers will participate in action research, with each educator selecting an equitable grading practice to try and then later share the results. Individual half-hour coaching sessions will also be offered for teachers, who will be partnered with a teacher of the same or similar subject already experienced in equitable grading, as well as support and feedback.

** Towards the start of Thursday's meeting, the Board is expected to approve the appointment of two new elementary school principals.

After six years, Elias Muniz is stepping down from his role as principal at Hearst Elementary to become Alisal Elementary's new leader, effective July 1. Muniz will replace outgoing principal Karen Johnson, who was recently promoted to the district's language acquisition coordinator position.

Muniz has been with PUSD his entire educational career, starting as a Spanish dual-immersion teacher and eventually serving as vice principal at several PUSD sites -- sometimes working at more than one school at a time. He was originally selected for the job of interim principal at Hearst, then officially appointed in 2014.

Mohr Elementary principal Julie Berglin is also moving to a different school in the 2021-22 school year. Berglin, who has been at PUSD for almost 25 years and principal at Mohr since 2013, will replace outgoing principal Chris Connor at Walnut Grove Elementary, effective July 1. The reason for Connor's departure is unknown at this time.

Comments

Laurie
Registered user
Val Vista
on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm
Laurie, Val Vista
Registered user
on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm

I am curious to know who authorizes the PUSD cabinet members to extend their terms? Do THEY get to decide if they want to extend their term? Who is making this decision? When people are voted to positions, they are voted by people knowing the term limits that they agreed to in advance. In addition, I would like to know who decides IF PUSD cabinet members get a raise and who authorizes it and determines the percentage? Why is it that classified staff aren't the recipients of this "General Fund" pay increase instead of giving these cabinet members a raise? They are definitely in more need of this increase than the PUSD cabinet members. In addition, in certain cases (certain holiday breaks) classified staff are forced to use their sick or vacation time EVEN when the school is completely closed and there are no classes that day. The school is closed, no one on site, and they are forced to pay for that day off. After reading this article, it leaves questions as to who is making these decisions for the PUSD cabinet members term extensions and pay increases and why these decisions were made. I believe the Pleasanton community should have a say, especially when it comes to term extensions.


Wow
Registered user
Castlewood
on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm
Wow, Castlewood
Registered user
on Jun 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm

Wow, Cabinet is going to receive a 3.5% raise. The teachers were offered a .27% raise. Yes, you read that correct: .27%. I'm betting classified was offered less. Oh, and health care is not included for certificated or classified unlike the PUSD Cabinet.

A Thought Exchange was done several months ago and overwhelmingly, the responses showed certificated and classified do not trust leadership at the district. In particular, there was an incredibly amount of frustration with the head of HR, Julio (the district office representation during negotiation meetings - he was the one who offered .27% and yet will receive a 3.5% raise). Interesting those results were never reported.

SRVUSD and Castro Valley all gave their employees a bonus for returning using one time COVID money. Dublin and Livermore did the same, as well as Piedmont. Pleasanton Unified did nothing besides hire more district level management (check out the number of directors added in the last few months).

Mark my words, certificated and classified employees are frustrated with the lack of leadership we are seeing. You might not like us receiving a raise, but do you really want a top heavy district office? Don't be surprised if there is talk of working contract hours and a vote to see if both groups are willing to strike.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2021 at 9:53 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 24, 2021 at 9:53 pm

Laurie, all these decisions are made by the Board of Trustees. Cabinet members can ask for raises all they want, but the board says yes or no.

I have taught in this district for over 20 years, and in that entire time, we have had an unofficial "me too" clause. If the APT negotiates a raise, it then applies to classified and administrative salaries as well. Everyone benefits. In '09 and '10, when the recession hit, all three parties negotiated eight furlough days over two years, everyone did this together, everyone took a hit.

But this all changed about four years ago when Superintendent Haglund negotiated for himself a 16% raise (4% each year for four years), we teachers got nothing close to that. Now they are at it again, asking for 3.5% while they have offered, as Wow said above, .27%.

Guess what school board? If you give them this 3.5%, then you better give it to the classified union, the teachers union, and the site administrators. We will stand for nothing less. We are in this together.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 24, 2021 at 11:23 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jun 24, 2021 at 11:23 pm

Raises? Wait I taught my kids last yr. where’s mine?

Administration failed teachers and the community.

Didn’t file for the waiver, failed to open in oct, failed to open in Jan, failed to meet instructional hours, and covered up failures with grade forgiveness.

Sorry you owe the community and teachers and paycheck . You’re lucky you’re still employed.


Livermore Parent
Registered user
Livermore
on Jun 25, 2021 at 2:07 am
Livermore Parent, Livermore
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 2:07 am

Pleasanton should strike.


Birdland fam
Registered user
Birdland
on Jun 25, 2021 at 8:01 am
Birdland fam, Birdland
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 8:01 am

As I read the contracts, administration receives 3.5% every year….not a one-time raise. They also get a second raise if the teachers/classified get a raise as well!Administrator’s spouses and children get health benefits but teachers/classified have to buy theirs? That doesn’t seem fair.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jun 25, 2021 at 11:49 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 11:49 am

Like Get the Facts says, the Board decides who gets raises and extensions, but it is the recommendation of the superintendent. 3.5% vs .27% is way off base. Conversely, teachers who move on the salary schedule do get raises every year. So any raise provided goes to those who got a raise, and those who do not (those who have hit the maximum moving down or across the salary schedule). One question this raises is with the “me too” clauses, do those who already got 3.5% also get whatever the teachers get (whether that is .27% or more)? That would be pouring salt in the wound.

I have said this before, this is not a starter district, yet we hired a guy who had not been superintendent. He’s been in the job, I believe serving us poorly, for four years now. To suggest contract extensions and raises to the board in advance of any settlement with the teachers/classified is unconscionable. The board, as always, needs to stand up and do a better job. I won’t be holding my breath.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jun 25, 2021 at 11:54 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 11:54 am

Forgot to mention the teachers negotiated their benefits being separate in exchange for putting the $10,000 allotment on the salary schedule many years ago. It was fair then; it is less fair now, but their raises have nearly kept up with the increases to their benefit premiums. The fact that less than half the teachers take the benefits makes a solution difficult.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2021 at 12:25 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Kathleen, please run for school board. You almost made it last time you ran, please do it again.


P-Town
Registered user
Amador Estates
on Jun 25, 2021 at 1:23 pm
P-Town, Amador Estates
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Just another reason why so many teachers who can get out of PUSD, leave. Public employees are best when they live in the community that they serve. Those days are gone. Leadership that models care and conviction to our community is possible - it does not, however, currently exist.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 25, 2021 at 3:54 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jun 25, 2021 at 3:54 pm

I really take issue with the healthcare cost claim. The union choose this. They choose to take the added money in salary and pension over healthcare, they justified it because most had benefits coverage through a spouse.

As always the union sacrificed marketability and younger staff at to the tenured populations benefit. This is not a community problem, this is a union problem. I empathize with the younger teachers, but please don’t put this on the community- your collective piers choose this.

I’d completely support a different model, but I want to see the union disbanded as it just continues to prove to be a archaic approach that is not in support of improving education or supporting its collective members - its systemic favoritism and ageism and costing the community new teachers.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on Jun 26, 2021 at 9:48 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on Jun 26, 2021 at 9:48 am

There is more to this article than the increase of dollars to the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents, but let me ask a few questions before moving on to the next issue: The PUSD has seen fit to pay an outside firm to instruct the teachers about ‘equity grading’ (the definition and research to support this phenomena is lacking, but that must be intentional). Why not hire a firm to determine if the Superintendents are worth such a salary? And, why 4 Assistant Superintendents? What justifies such an overload?

Secondly, the article reports, “…the Board is also expected to announce several new public employee coordinator appointments, three of which are new job descriptions…Compensation for the positions range between $133,695 to $147,609…” what will these people accomplish?

Is there any discussion about the quality of education, what the kids are learning, or how that can be improved? Do we need to discuss appointments covered by 6 figure incomes to improve our students abilities in math, science, and writing? Or is PUSD moving into the guidelines of Critical Race Theory under the noses of Parents?

I have found the answer to repair the Amador Gym without a School Bond- the money is talked about in this article. Just a thought from a taxpayer you always come to for money.


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2021 at 4:46 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 27, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Pleasanton Parent, you make a good point about the union choice to choose pay scale over medical. It made sense when the decision was made (before I came to PUSD), and it makes sense in retirement, but not when teaching, for those that have to take it like I do.

As far as disbanding the union, no way. Pleasanton used to be the highest paying district around, but we have now been passed by other districts. We need the union more than ever before, which is why, when given the choice to be in the union or opt out and not have to pay dues, almost every teacher has stayed in the union.

What is costing us new teachers in not the union - again, teachers can opt out. What is costing us new teachers is not being on the forefront of salary like we used to be.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 27, 2021 at 6:03 pm
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jun 27, 2021 at 6:03 pm

You need the union now more than ever, but it’s the thing that is directly responsible for the issue you’re in disagreement about? Your union failed you, not only in not achieving your total comp expectations but in actually voting to take a portion of them away from you to satisfy a smaller group inside your union

Wake up, your union is scamming you. Vote out the corruption and vote in performance based compensation. I’d love to see deserving teachers being paid 2x immediately, but I’ll never support that under a union structure, way too corrupt and unfair


Get the Facts
Registered user
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2021 at 9:59 pm
Get the Facts, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 27, 2021 at 9:59 pm

PP, I disagree with everything you just posted. But let's get back to the topic, which is the top administration trying to take a raise while they make more than twice as much as all but the most senior teachers.


Pleasanton Parent
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 28, 2021 at 11:18 am
Pleasanton Parent, Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on Jun 28, 2021 at 11:18 am

Get the Facts - we agree on the "end" we disagree on the "how". Which is ok. Its not wrong or right, its a different opinion on the best way to get there.


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