2017-06-15 / Community

School employees to see increase in pay, benefits

Deal includes retroactive raise
By Dawn Megli-Thuna


Members of the local teachers union will receive an additional $4 million in compensation next school year under a deal approved by the Conejo Valley school board last week.

After nearly eight months of negotiations, the Unified Association of Conejo Teachers and the Conejo Valley Unified School District came to a compromise on the union’s next two-year contract. The deal grants union members a 3 percent salary increase beginning July 1 in addition to a 1 percent retroactive raise dating back to July 1, 2016.

UACT represents roughly 920 teachers, nurses, and speech and language providers. Members of the district’s other two employee unions—California School Employees Association and Conejo Valley Pupil Personnel Association— agreed to similar compensation terms.

UACT President Randy Smith said in an interview after the June 6 meeting where the contract was finalized that the salary increase was a sign of the district’s interest in remaining competitive with surrounding school districts when it comes to attracting and retaining highly qualified educators.

“We know that our teachers are some of the best around,” he said.

The 1 percent retroactive raise will cost the district slightly over $1 million, according to a staff report. Union members will receive their retroactive pay boost in a single check, most likely sometime over the summer.

At the March 7 board meeting, Hayek said regularly scheduled annual step-and-column raises were already slated to cost CVUSD an additional $1.5 million in fiscal year 2017-18. Over 80 percent of CVUSD’s budget goes to employee salaries and benefits.

Under the new contract, the district also agreed to bear the cost of employer CalSTRS contribution increases for the next two years, a requirement of new state law. In addition, CVUSD also agreed not to raise employees’ health benefit contributions during the life of the contract.

All told, the deal signed last week will cost taxpayers an additional $4.95 million over the course of the next two school years.

In February of last year, UACT—mid contract—negotiated a 3.8 percent retroactive raise as well as a one-time bonus equivalent to 1.5 percent of their annual salary.

After going without a collective raise for six years between 2007-08 and 2012-13 (teachers still received “step-and-column” automatic salary increases during that time), UACT membership has earned salary boosts every year since.

Board member Sandee Everett encouraged anyone who is interested to visit the district’s website to review the deal.

“I also want to thank staff for their hard work bargaining with the unions and doing a great job and getting a good end result,” she said.

According to CVUSD’s communication coordinator, Heather Kawai, the district’s average annual teacher salary is $78,911, a figure that makes educators here some of the best paid in Ventura County.

To see the contract in its entirety, go to www.conejousd.org.

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