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SDUHSD classified employees seek pay increase

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Oak Crest health technician Laura August addresses the board at the May 9.
Billing, Karen

San Dieguito Union High School District’s classified employees are seeking a salary increase that at least equals the one given to certificated teachers this year and keeps up with the cost of living in San Diego.

Currently the California School Employees Association is in the midst of its contract negotiations for the 2018-19 school year. In March, the board approved an agreement with the San Dieguito Faculty Association following its own collective bargaining effort that resulted in a 1 percent pay raise for certificated teachers retroactive to July 1, 2018.

Classified positions in a school district are non-teaching positions, ones that don’t require a teaching credential such as administrative office employees, campus supervisors and maintenance staff. In September 2018 the classified employees received a .5 percent raise for 2017-18, the same that was given to management and certificated teachers.

Addressing the board on May 9, Oak Crest Middle School health technician Laura August said that negotiations are going much better than in the past with lots of open communication but they remain stuck on the wage discussion. August said after the California School Employees Association settled for a .5 percent raise for 2017-18, they had anticipated a better chance of getting a “reasonable raise increase” with the new contract.

“A .5 percent increase for majority of our members equals about a cup of coffee a month, and not at Starbucks,” August said. “Unfortunately, we are far apart in our wage discussions but believe with a little guidance from you we will be able to make a favorable deal for everyone at the table. We want to have the same consideration as the other bargaining unit in the district.”

During public comment, Roberta Blank, an administrative assistant at Carmel Valley Middle School, said that the cost of living in San Diego has gone up an average of 2.5 percent a year and many classified staff members need to work two- to-three jobs to put food on the table.

“Unfortunately, the one percent being offered to us just isn’t enough to keep up financially with the cost of living,” Blank said.

Superintendent Robert Haley said the ongoing negotiations have been productive in many areas and that the district’s lead negotiator Associate Superintendent Cindy Frazee continues to work toward a comprehensive settlement.

“We have the utmost respect for our classified employees who are represented by CSEA,” Haley said. “We are committed to the economic security of all of our employees, but we make commitments in light of our overall financial position.”