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FUHSD approves COLA increases across the board

The Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) Board of Trustees reviewed and decided to implement a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) across the board for the 2008-2009 fiscal year at their October 27 board meeting.

The COLA will provide teachers, classified and administrative staff with a slight (0.69-percent) pay increase.

The school was provided with a state budget adjustment for the COLA effective July 1, in the amount of $120,835.14, to cover the 0.69-percent increase for the employees in the Fallbrook High School Teachers’ Association and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 221.

The board agreed to follow past district board practices and increase the pay of administrators by the same 0.69 percent – at an added cost of $11,114 to the district for the 2008-2009 school year.

According to Chester Gannett, assistant superintendent of business services for the district, the 2008-2009 budget has been well monitored by the board and the district will end its fiscal year in the black, unless California’s education budget is changed dramatically.

The FUHSD Board of Trustees has approved several cuts over the past year in order to be able to keep the school budget in the black, including choosing to employ seven less teachers this year. Even with that decision, Gannett said no high school classes were cut from the 2008 fall schedule.

FUHSD teachers who had non-teaching assignments, such as performing computer updates in classrooms throughout the day, were asked to pick up fewer non-teaching assignments and more teaching assignments in order to cover the classes that were being taught by the seven teachers.

The teachers’ pay has not been cut, said Gannet, but pay reductions have been made in management and classified workers’ schedules by having them work fewer days.

Contract negotiations with the classified workers’ union are being discussed as their work contracts expired in early June. Both FUHSD and the union have offered proposals to discuss during negotiating sessions but the process is ongoing, as the terms must be acceptable to both sides as well as be affordable for the district.

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