Pleasanton Unified School District signed off on an agreement at a special Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday that gives classified employees a one-time cash infusion on top of salary and medical benefit contribution increases.
Assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez called the months leading up to the board's unanimous adoption of the contract with the California School Employees Association (CSEA) "a journey in negotiating."
"What is being presented today is a compensation piece so that we are able to start that process of processing all of the individual unit members' salary screens, which is going to be quite a task," Hernandez said.
District staff members represented by CSEA will receive an across-the-board 1.5% salary raise, based on a squared salary schedule that went into effect last year, as well as a 3.68% increase of district contribution toward medical benefits. Staff are owed retroactive payment as of July 1, 2020, by no later than Sept. 30.
Assistant superintendent of business services Ahmad Sheikholeslami told the board, "Every employee is at a certain placement in the salary schedule, and this 1.5% moves the entire salary schedule 1.5% higher, and so that's the additional compensation and the additional cost to the district on an ongoing basis. For this unit, that cost of 1.5% is approximately around $390,000 or $400,000."
A one-time payment not to exceed $350,000 will also be split among all CSEA members. The 2020-21 fiscal year agreement includes adjustments to a classification compensation study as well that will be made based on recommendations from the union.
Only 80 classifications approved in 2019-20 were approved to the 50th percentile or above, according to Hernandez. By approving the contract, "all of our classifications will either be at the 50th percentile or above with our CSEA unit."
Hernandez described the one-time $350,000 distributed among CSEA membership "as part of the agreement to close the study and bring closure to it. Again, elevating everybody within the study within our classified unit with CSEA, at or above the 50th percentile."
The squaring of the salary schedule is in the collective bargaining agreement but is not currently being fulfilled by PUSD. By doing so, Hernandez said, "we would have met and will meet our obligation in the collective bargaining agreement."
"We agreed to square it based on the $15, which is the minimum wage that will be established in January, so this sets that ... and makes it whole," he added.
During the board discussion, Trustee Mary Jo Carreon asked about the district's deficit spending and where staffing would be reduced, if necessary. Sheikholeslami said staff has "already started some of that work" but would "have to look at some of our ratios with our involvement throughout the grades."
"We'll have to look at both support programs and other programs the district has, and aligning those with our enrollment," Sheikholeslami said. "It's a through-through kind of evaluation at every level to ensure staffing is aligned with enrollment."
Trustee Kelly Mokashi later pointed out, "But as you said, there are some actions, planning to accommodate if staffing modifications need to be changed or modified down the road."
"Correct. We are increasing our deficit spending, but we're going to be looking in the 45-day budget," Sheikholeslami replied. "There's additional revenues that are going to be included into the ongoing multi-year as well, and then out-years we're going to have to look at that. If enrollment is where it is, currently we need to tighten enrollment, we need to tighten staffing throughout the district."