"I wanted to clarify for the public that the (cost-of-living adjustment) that we received from the state was 3% and we are giving 2.5%. So we are actually below the COLA, to keep it in perspective," Trustee Jamie Yee Hintzke said Tuesday night in the PUSD boardroom.
The 2.5% increase received by the district's executive cabinet -- which will cost the district an extra $33,075 this year -- is consistent with the raises previously approved for teachers, classified employees and management.
The cabinet is comprised of Superintendent David Haglund, who is now set to earn $288,139.80 a year; deputy superintendent of business services Micaela Ochoa ($210,786.21), assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez ($201,925.04), assistant superintendent of student support services Ed Diolazo ($201,925.04) and assistant superintendent of educational services Odie Douglas ($205,963.50).
The 2.5% is consistent with the district-wide salary increases approved for classified staff and management by the board at its Dec. 11, meeting, as well as for teachers unions at its Nov. 13 meeting.
According to a county analysis presented at December's meeting, if PUSD's average daily attendance numbers align with demographer's projections, the district should be able to afford the increases at current budget levels.
While cabinet's raises were approved unanimously, those for trustees were approved slightly contested, at 4-1. The lone dissenting vote came from Trustee Steve Maher, who cast his vote somewhat reluctantly.
"I know that everyone here works way above and beyond ... I just personally have a hard time giving myself a raise at 5% when everyone else got a 2.5% raise," he said. "Certainly everyone deserves it; it's just something personally I feel."
The 5% stipend increase, which was recommended by district staff, equates to $21 per month, resulting in school board members receiving a total of $441 a month or $5,292 annually. The new stipend results in a collective total of $26,460 spent every year.
The board's previous stipend of $420 per month has been in effect since June 2017.
Earlier in the evening, trustees voted down a motion to instead give themselves a 2.5% raise to match their colleagues in the executive cabinet, by a vote of 2-3 -- trustees Mark Miller and Joan Laursen represented the aye votes. The board ultimately approved the recommended 5%.
"I would really like to see people in our community step forward and run for the board and because we get less than half of what the City Council gets ... I think it makes it a little more palatable if we increase (the stipend) these teensy amounts in the next few times," said Board President Valerie Arkin. "There hasn't been a huge amount of public interest running for the board and at some point were going to need people to step forward."
Laursen added that prior to the increase in 2017, the board had not increased its stipend in "a very long time."
Pursuant with the California Education Code, the 5% increase is the largest amount a school board may grant themselves on an annual basis.
In other business
* As part of the regular personnel document in their consent agenda Tuesday, the trustees accepted Douglas' retirement request, effective at the end of the school year June 30.
Douglas, who holds a doctorate of education, is stepping down after seven years as assistant superintendent of educational services and almost 40 years in education overall.
"I express my sincere gratitude and thanks to the District for allowing me to serve the students, parents/guardians, staff members, and community. I have learned much and have grown tremendously, both personally and professionally," Douglas said in a letter to district administrators announcing his decision Jan. 24.
Haglund, in a statement to the Weekly, commended Douglas for extraordinary commitment and service to our schools, staff, students and their families."
"Over these past seven years, Dr. Douglas has played an integral role in implementing the district's mission and vision, as well as serving as a fierce advocate for our equity work. Well done, Dr. D," Haglund said. "While you will certainly be missed, we wish you good health and ample opportunities to relax as you moves into retirement."
* Student enrollment and demographics was another key item of discussion during Tuesday's meeting, where trustees reviewed the California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS).
An annual statewide report created from data gathered every October, CBEDS collects raw information on school districts documenting enrollment trends, staffing numbers, student ethnicity and certain instructional programs.
For example as of Jan. 14, overall student enrollment in the PUSD had increased to 14,982 students. This is an increase of 24 students since October 2018, and an increase of 136 students since October 2017, according to the report.
CBEDS also includes statistics on the demographics of students enrolled in the district's public institutions. The report found that as of October 2018, students of Asian descent make up 43.8% of the population, followed by white students who make up 37.38%, and then Hispanic students who account for 9.7%.
The remaining 9.12% is comprised of students who identify as African American, Pacific Islander, mixed race or American Indian or were students who declined to state their ethnicity.
This story contains 893 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.