Group contests raises to Central Unified’s top employees
Central Unified teachers, parents and faculty say they are not giving up in their fight to overturn a contract approved last month that gives pay raises to the district’s top employees.
The contract will give five administrators annual merit-based raises each year if they get a satisfactory performance review.
More than 40 supporters met Friday afternoon to brainstorm ideas that would push the administrators to give up the raises.
“There are so many things wrong with those raises,” said Saroyan Elementary teacher Laura Bolton. “The whole process was incredibly sneaky and seems like it might have been intentional.”
The group is facing a major hurdle, though — only school board members can contest an increase in pay scale, said school board president George Wilson Jr.
“That is something that would have to be initiated by the board itself, unless the raises are voluntarily relinquished,” Wilson said.
And despite the group’s efforts, Wilson said, it is unlikely the board will repeal the raises.
“It is definitely showing that Central Unified has a strong supporting community, but there are contract issues that cannot be avoided at this point,” Wilson said. “Our teachers and faculty are paid on par with teachers in surrounding districts, but our top administrators were paid 20% less.
“It is not like the superintendent’s pay is being increased to match Clovis Unified or Fresno Unified, because we couldn’t afford that.”
In the latest contract, Superintendent Mike Berg will receive a 7% pay raise in the new fiscal year, increasing from $160,000 in 2011-12 to $171,333 in the upcoming school year. If his performance review is satisfactory over the remainder of his contract, Berg’s salary could climb to $193,999 in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Assistant superintendents — Chief Academic Officer Laura Ashlock, Human Resources Chief Chris Williams, Chief Business Officer Jim Bauler and Professional Development head Ketti Davis — each would receive a 5.7% pay increase with a satisfactory review, raising their pay from $125,000 in 2011-12 to $146,375 in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The contract was approved 4-3, with Trustees Cindy Burube, Terry Cox and William D. Peverill voting against it.
Bolton said the team of “teachers, retirees and parents and one student” will do whatever it takes to encourage the administrators to give up their pay increase.
The team has created posters and started going door to door to contest the raises, she said.
But the largest threat, Bolton says, are four online petitions the group is circulating. Every time someone signs the petition, an email is sent out to the board, she said.
“We are really hoping that we can make a difference,” Bolton said Friday. By Monday afternoon, 364 people had signed the petition.
By Ezra Romero