Education

San Juan trustees to discuss 4.5% employee pay hikes

Trustees are to vote Dec. 3 on the SJTA pact and agreements with the San Juan Professional Educators Coalition, San Juan Supervisors Association and California School Employees Association Unit 127. Overall, all but about 150 of San Juan’s nearly 5,000 employees would see the 4.5 percent raises.
Trustees are to vote Dec. 3 on the SJTA pact and agreements with the San Juan Professional Educators Coalition, San Juan Supervisors Association and California School Employees Association Unit 127. Overall, all but about 150 of San Juan’s nearly 5,000 employees would see the 4.5 percent raises. aalfaro@sacbee.com

Trustees in the San Juan Unified School District on Tuesday night are to discuss whether to grant teachers, supervisors and other employees salary hikes of 4.5 percent this fiscal year, pushing district salary costs $9.1 million higher through June 30.

Most of the increase – 3 percent – would be paid retroactively from July 1, according to district officials. The other 1.5 percent would take effect on Feb. 1.

The agreement with the district’s largest employee group, the San Juan Teachers Association, also would increase hourly pay for extra work performed beyond the regular workday. And it would phase in class-size reductions for elementary grades through fiscal year 2020-2021, a process requiring the district to hire more teachers during those years.

The higher teacher salaries would account for about $6 million of the district’s total $9.1 million increase in salary costs this fiscal year. For 2015-2016, the district’s cost for teacher salaries would grow by another $5.1 million, reflecting the first full year of the salary increase as well as a larger teacher workforce.

Tom Alves, executive director of the San Juan Teachers Association, said the last salary increase, other than step advancements, for teachers came seven years ago. The association has about 2,200 members.

“We’ve been bargaining since April. When there’s money on the table for salaries, and there hasn’t been much, those are always the most difficult bargaining years,” Alves said. “But in the end, our goal was to try to do this without any outside intervention, without mediation or impasse procedures. We were able to do it.”

A SJTA ratification vote is set for later this week, he said.

Class sizes currently are limited to 31 students for grades kindergarten through third. But starting next fall, classes would be reduced to no more than 27 students for transitional kindergarten through first grade. The 27-student maximum would extend to second grade starting in fall 2016 and then to third grade in 2017.

Upper elementary grades – fourth through sixth – would each phase in a 29-student maximum, year by year, starting with the fourth grade in fall 2018.

In addition to raises, teachers who engage in work beyond the regular workday, such as tutoring or teaching summer school, would be paid $36 an hour for that added work, or $46 an hour if they have at least 11 years of experience, up from the long-standing $24 an hour.

Trustees are to vote Dec. 3 on the SJTA pact and agreements with the San Juan Professional Educators Coalition, San Juan Supervisors Association and California School Employees Association Unit 127. The latter groups include principals, supervisors, program managers and maintenance workers.

Overall, all but about 150 of San Juan’s nearly 5,000 employees would see the 4.5 percent raises. Only Teamsters Local 150, which represents transportation workers, has failed to reach a contract agreement.

After years of state funding cuts and lean budgets, districts in the region are eyeing salary increases. In September, the Sacramento City Unified School District also reached agreement on two years of salary hikes and smaller class sizes for its youngest students at high-poverty schools. That pact called for a 2 percent pay increase, retroactive to July 1, for about 2,000 teachers, plus counselors, school nurses and other certificated employees. Another 1 percent pay increase is set for July 1. Those were the first increases for teachers in that district, save pay-scale and step advancements, since the 2008-2009 school year.

Call The Bee’s Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee.

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