The Manteca Unified School District Board and various employee groups struck a deal designed to assure teachers and other workers receive cost of living increases, basic needs from books to electricity are covered for inflation, and that the district has state mandated balanced budgets three years into the future.
The core of the deal that resolves the biggest hurdles in contract negotiations — salaries and benefits — is simple: 85 percent of every 1 percent the state grants annually in cost of living increases (COLA) the school district receives from the that isn’t tied to a specially funded program will go toward employee salaries and benefits. That is the how much of the general fund has been historically committed for that purpose.
“It is a win-win for everybody,” noted District Superintendent Clark Burke.
Clark noted the contract deal “is very transparent.”
If Manteca Unified, for example receives a 3.46 percent COLA that brings in $6,516,827 in new and unrestricted cash, 85 percent or $5,539,303 would go to employee salary and benefit increases. That $5,539,303 would be divided among the five bargaining groups proportionately to what is set aside for employees in the unit in terms of salary and benefits.
That broken down is $3,584,242 for the Manteca Educators Association, $1,290,525 for the California Schools Employee Association Unit 50, $72,509 for CSEA Unit 864, $178,214 for classified supervisors and administrators, and $413,813 for certificated administrators. That equates to a 2.94 percent increase on the adopted salary schedules for all bargaining units.
The May revise from the state based on the school funding COLA proposed for the California budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is now at 3.26 percent.
Based on the May revise for COLA payment from the state the district next fiscal year will spend $226.4 million from the general fund on salaries and benefits. That includes a 2.94 percent pay increase on salary schedules funded by the 3.26 percent COLA being paid by the state.
That contrasts with $229.3 million being spent in the current fiscal year for salaries and benefits. The higher amount reflects an 8 percent one-time payment to employees that was off the salary schedule.
If an employee, this year was making $50,000 they received an additional one-time payment of $4,000 or 8 percent of their salary. For the upcoming fiscal year they will receive $1,470 based on the 2.94 percent increased funding with 85 percent of every 1 percent of the COLA the state grants.
Going forward into the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the base salary of that employee will be $51,470 (with the 2.94 percent pay raise from the 2019-2020 fiscal year factored in). If the state grants a 2 percent funding COLA to the district for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, that employee would receive a $1,029 pay hike.
The decision to award a one-time payment off of the salary schedule of 8 percent avoided that increase from being built into the salary schedule that would substantially increase the salary and benefit costs as the years unfold by compounding that 8 percent hike. Historically the district avoids using one-time funds for reoccurring costs as it would obligate future budget years.
The 85 percent of 1 percent of state granted COLAs on unrestricted funds will mean employee groups as well as the district will know exactly what will be going to salaries and benefits. Only 15 percent of the MUSD general fund budget goes to non-salary and benefit costs.
It also assures the district will have the funding needed to support classrooms whether it is maintenance, energy, materials, and such as inflation goes up.
In addition it helps keep costs in alignment with anticipated state funding to allow the district to work toward having a balanced budget for the current year but also two years into the future as mandated by the state when they have no idea what funding the state will provide in the second and third year.
And it does make the process transparent given the entire rationale behind a COLA is to keep a district — and teachers as well as other employees — even against inflation.
The district continues to face increasing retirement costs. The California State Teachers Retirement System last fiscal year required a 28.016 percent employer contribution that is expected to drop to 20.7 percent in the upcoming fiscal year. For staff covered under the California Public Employees Retirement System the employer contribution for the current fiscal year is 16.28 percent compared to 17.1 percent for the fiscal year starting July 1.
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