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Minimum wage hike upping labor costs for schools
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The new California minimum wage law will ultimately have a big impact on Manteca’s largest employer — the Manteca Unified School District.
The new law that raises minimum  wage from $10 per hour today to $15 by Jan. 1, 2022 , however, will have a minimal impact at first.
That’s because the only support staff making minimum wage are 130 student workers or interns. Under the new law they are in line to be bumped up to $10.50 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017 as they start moving toward $15 an hour.
But in practical terms a large chunk of the district’s hourly classified employees such as nutritional service aides, yard supervisors, bus drivers are assured of pay increases through at least 2022.
That’s because any increase in the base step of the classified salary schedule automatically increases all other ranges and steps.
If the base step of 9A — currently $13.61 per hour which is what nutritional services assistants are paid — is increased, the next five pay step are increased 5 percent followed by 3.5 percent for the following steps.
That is in addition to 217 positions available for jobs such as yard supervisors. Of those, 116 are currently filled and 111 are vacant. But of the 116 that are filled, 115 are paid less than $15 an hour.
It is highly unlikely that the bottom of the  pay schedule whether it is for hourly or classified supervisor salaries will be allowed to slip to the point where the minimum wage of $15 per hour becomes the new base. That means if the current dollar, and not percentage, difference between minimum wage and base is kept intact hundreds upon hundreds of support staff would receive a $5 an hour boost if such a scenario played out.
That would translate into just under a 40 percent pay hike between now and 2022 if the dollar distance is maintained with minimum wage being upped from $10 by $5 per hour to $15 and the bottom base is upped from $13.61 by $5 per hour to $18.61.
What actually happens beyond minimum wage hikes will actually depend upon negotiations. But if the salary schedule steps are kept intact proportionally the classified employees that make up the 3,000 workers that also encompass teachers and administrators that Manteca Unified employs would see nearly a 40 percent pay hike over the next 5.5 years.
While pay hikes beyond the state mandated $15 for minimum wage jobs aren’t automatic the pressure will be to increase other pay since the district would need to stay competitive for workers.
Currently three ranges and steps of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Chapter 50 pay schedule are a few  cents over $15 an hour. Another three are within 50 cents an hour.
All CSEA Chapter 864 support staff SSA positions are under $15 an hours while some steps of four CSEA Chapter 50 classifications are under $15 an hour.
The impact of the new minimum wage law on government agencies is enormous in some cases.
Legislative analysists pegged the cost statewide once all California government agencies have workers making less than $15 an hour at an additional $3.6 billion a year.
For the cities of Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop the  biggest group of employees making less than $15 an hour are part-time recreation department workers such as scorekeepers, coaches of youth programs, and game officials as well as those assisting with various classes.
Non-profits such as Give Every Child and the Boys & Girls Club will also need to raise  the pay of a number of part-time workers.
The University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education projected the ripple effect of a $15 minimum wage on higher earners could raise pay for 5.6 million Californians — both private and public sector workers —by an average of 24 percent.
First-year costs to the state alone would total $19 million, when the minimum pay bumps to $10.50 on Jan. 1, according to the legislative analysis.
The proposal would then increase the minimum wage to the next whole dollar amount in each of the five years, with a one-year delay allowed for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. The wage would automatically rise to keep up with inflation after 2023.