Manteca Unified teachers could get rewarded for perfect attendance.
It is part of a tentative agreement the Manteca Unified School Board was expected to approve Tuesday night with the Manteca Educators’ Association regarding reopeners to a master agreement that was adopted on July 1,2020 and runs through June 30,2023.
A one-year pilot program for a perfect attendance bonus of $300 was in place last school year when the pandemic hit in mid-March. The district paid the bonuses based on attendance at that point.
By having the pilot program repeated for the 2021-2022 school year, the district will be able to have a clear picture of a year of impacts to weigh whether it should be an ongoing endeavor.
Perfect attendance is defined as a full time active certificated employee not using any sick leave, personal leave, special purpose leave, paternity and adoption leave, legislative leave, and other leave. The use of leave for jury duty, bereavement, military duty, union business, and professional development isn’t counted against an employee. All bonus payments for the Perfect Attendance will be paid in June.
Both the MEA and district have agreed to review the end of year data regarding absences for certificated staff to determine the effectiveness of the program to promote better attendance.
The bonus is designed to encourage teachers — when possible — to try and schedule things such as dental appointments after school or on Saturdays.
The goal is to reduce the need for substitute teachers for a day or even a half day.
While there could be money savings to the district given a substitute teacher costs about $125 a day, Deputy Superintendent Roger Goacther said more importantly it could help provide better continuity in the classrooms for students by reducing the number of days among the 186 instructional days they have in a school year when a substitute teacher instructs their class.
A side agreement also gives the district flexibility in implementing the later high school start as mandated by Senate Bill 328 until the master agreement expires in June of 2023.
High school now starts at 9 a.m. and most elementary schools start at 8 a.m.
The COVID-19 protocols have made state mandated busing for special education students a challenge. Buses now have to make as many as three routes with reduced capacity required due to social distancing. In order to transport all special education students with the existing bus fleet, the district needs an hour between the start of elementary schools and the start of high schools.
However, state law would require the later start times to be in place permanently at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
The agreement also allows for a pilot program where up to 236 certificated employees can opt out of medical health benefits.
Employees will not receive any compensation or cash in-lieu payments for the employer contribution for medical benefits that is currently $918.32. They would, however, retain out of pocket expenses they would have incurred.
The pilot program is expected to save both teachers and the district money.
It would be typically used by employees that have spouses working in the district with both covered by district plans.
Salary and benefit issues through June 30, 2023 were settled in the master agreement. That agreement calls for 85 percent of new annual cost of living allowances the district receives from the state to go to salaries and benefits.
That reflects the historic percentage of the general fund budget that goes toward employee salaries and benefits.
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