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Members of the Tehachapi Association of Teachers and others voiced their dismay at raises for administration at the June 25 board meeting.

Some expressed disappointment. Others voiced a need for more transparency. Tehachapi Unified School District board members rescinded previous approval of a certificated management salary increase that would have given six management employees more than the approved 2 percent pay increase that was given to others.

Board members claimed they were not properly informed.

“It looked to be a commonality pay raise,” TUSD board vice president Leonard Evansic said at the June 25 meeting. “I did not appreciate looking back and noticing that we did changes to job descriptions, almost like a consent item — because in the past we have had changes in job descriptions that involve scope of work, pay ranges and things like that, they’ve come up individually.”

Board member Rick Scott said, “I don’t feel you are being transparent to us and I would have never voted for this, if you had given me all the information.”

He added, “I think 2 percent for teachers, then 2 percent to everyone.”

Board members voted in favor of increasing management and confidential salaries by 2 percent, and to change “the number of workdays and salary range placement for certain positions,” at the June 11 meeting. The pay increases and change in number of workdays was set to begin July 1, according to the agenda.

The vote to rescind was 4-2, with one board member absent. Board members Joe Wallek and Dean A. Markham opposed the decision at the June 25 meeting.

District management salary schedules for 2018 and 2019 show some jobs had a much higher percentage pay increase with a reduction in work days of 5 to 10 per year.

Paul Kaminski, interim superintendent, justified the six positions that had more than a 2 percent salary increase.

Kaminski said the board had received the agenda attachment explaining the change 72 hours before the meeting and had time to review the information. 

“All of this could have been avoided if the board had done their due diligence,” Kaminski said.

He added that some director, middle school principal and academic coach jobs needed to be adjusted to be competitive with other districts or pay ranges were very close for similar positions. Some eliminated positions were also combined into existing jobs.

Teacher salary schedules were restructured more than one year ago to start beginning teachers at a higher rate and give an overall raise of three percent, Kaminski said.

“That restructuring of the teachers' salary schedule resulted in 33 teachers receiving a 12.5 percent raise with an additional 55 receiving over a 3 percent raise. Those who retired this year with that pay raise and who were at step 25 benefited greatly in their (Cal)STRS benefits,” said Kaminski.

Many certificated management take on additional responsibilities.

“At this time I felt the certificated management salary structure needed similar adjustments,” Kaminski said. “They counsel, handle misbehavior, make master schedules, handle parent complaints, handle a myriad of maintenance issues, hire employees, etc. We are a team and should be respectful of each others’ role in students' education.”

Some teachers and members of Tehachapi Association of Teachers voiced their opinion.

“It publicly appears that some of the information presented to the school board may not have been as forthright as hoped. And it shows some individuals receiving pay increases far exceeding the approved 2 percent as well as a decrease in work days,” said Val Bowman, secretary of the Tehachapi Association of Teachers. “I do not understand how fewer days and more pay financially benefit the school district when money is always a concern.”

Teacher Vikki Lange said, “I don’t think anyone in this room begrudges anybody a pay raise.” She added, “I just don’t feel it was as transparent as we have been led to believe that our district is going to be."