But the pay raises didn't sit well with many members of the California School Employees Association, which represents the district's classified employees including receptionists, custodians, paraeducators and cafeteria workers. During public comment at Thursday's regular board meeting, Amador Valley High site registrar Linda Pipe said she was "disgusted by the disingenuous nature of PUSD leadership and decision-making."
"You as a board have the responsibility to make sure that all employees are treated fairly, yet when CSEA requests that our benefits even remotely keep pace with basic inflation, we are told this isn't, and I quote, 'in the best interest of the district'," Pipe said, adding that benefit stipends given to classified workers "does not even cover the cost of the lowest Kaiser plan for employee-only."
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 took effect Thursday, 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's general fund.
Ahead of a district staff compensation analysis also presented on Thursday, CSEA President Derek Psaros said, "I want for the trustees to ask deep questions about compensation -- who gets it, how they get it, how it compares to our neighbors and if the data presented is apples to apples. Also, what compensation within and outside of wages might heal this poor morale."
Board President Joan Laursen acknowledged later that PUSD is "not the lowest paying district in the county but we have some room to improve, and we're going to do the best we can with the money that we get."
"It's been a conversation at the board level and with staff talking about what are we going to do about that, to look at our compensation structures and try to start offering benefits and move that along," Laursen added.
But Laursen defended the employment agreements with the administers toward the end of the meeting and said the district added paid medical "because that's what we're hearing when we're looking at hiring administrators — that those are things that they're considering and determining what's right for themselves and their families."
"This is not a secret deal, but the process of looking at ways in which we can make our administrators competitive so other districts don't lure them away from us," she said.
"That means we took a look at it in terms of the whole district, like what are we trying to do to improve our competitiveness with our other administrators, with CSEA, with APT," Laursen said, adding that the board was "looking at it from a competitiveness for the whole organization."
Among 15 school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties used as comparison groups during the presentation on staff compensation, New Haven Unified School District in Union City was ranked No. 1 for teacher salaries despite not having a parcel tax.
This fact upset Cheryl Vangundy, a technology specialist at Vintage Hills who contacted the Weekly before the meeting and said PUSD "often states that they have less funds than other districts because they don't have a parcel tax."
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.
The Association of Pleasanton Teachers, which represents certificated employees at PUSD, showed support and solidarity with CSEA on Thursday. APT President Michelle VerKuillen told the board that she's had "several disconcerting conversations with our educators in the last month" about salaries not keeping up with the cost of living.
"I am seeing more mid- and late-career people leaving our district because they are being outpriced of the Bay Area," VerKuillen said. "They cannot afford to stay here even at this point in their careers."
VerKuillen also declared the district's competitiveness has "waned," and warned administrators that new hires who have "voiced concern because they did not realize that the district does not contribute to benefits ... will probably not stay" because surrounding districts are luring away talent by offering benefits or benefit stipends on top of posted salaries.
"We have to invest in our programs, and our programs include our educators," VerKuillen said. "Supporting our students means investing in educators so they can live and be a part of their community."
The district was scheduled to resume negotiations with CSEA Thursday, July 1, and with APT on July 8. Officials said they have requested another meeting with APT in early July to discuss bell schedules and other concerns they wish to negotiate.
Several new public employee coordinator appointments were also announced on June 24, three of which are new job descriptions approved last month. The job titles include coordinators for human resources, student services, high school operations, and academic extended day and intervention programs. 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.
This story contains 995 words.
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