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BUSD reaches agreement with classified employees

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Bonsall Unified School District approved two agreements with the district's classified employees during the Jan. 18 BUSD board meeting.

One action approved the collective bargaining agreement between the school district and the California School Employees Association chapter for Bonsall. The other action approved a salary schedule for the district’s classified employees. Both actions passed on 4-0 votes with Pascal Lapoirie absent.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Bonsall High School Office Manager Cara Starkweather, who is the president of Bonsall’s CSEA chapter.

“We’re looking to take care of our employees,” said BUSD Superintendent Joseph Clevenger.

The school district negotiating team included executive director of human resources Allen Williams and executive director for business and human resources Laura Castro, although the school board needed to ratify the agreement and the Bonsall classified employees needed to ratify the agreement negotiated by the CSEA bargaining representatives.

“I appreciate the work that was put in by Laura Castro and Allen Williams,” Starkweather said.

“They provide such a critical part of the school education experience. It’s a great thing to be able to get it done with them,” Clevenger said. “We are really excited about the work they are doing, and they are valued.”

The changes include restructuring the classified employee salary schedule. The new schedule has 30 levels, although currently the highest level is Range 29 for a system analyst. The 30 steps in the schedule are based on advancing one step each July 1 after the completion of the employee’s initial probationary period.

For each level, the salary increases by 5% for each step through the fifth step and by 1.5% for each step after the fifth. The hourly rate for Step 1 ranges from $15.38 for Range 1 to $31.47 to Range 30 while the hourly pay for Step 30 ranges from $27.15 to $55.54.

The school district pays for classified employees' health maintenance organization coverage while also contributing for an employee and an additional family beneficiary for family medical, dental, or vision costs. The annual district contribution for an additional family member was increased from $4,500 to $5,000.

If a classified employee is on jury duty, the school district pays the classified employee his or her BUSD compensation minus juror pay (not including mileage or parking allowance). The previous collective bargaining agreement limited jury duty leave with pay to 2% of the district staff at one time, and that limitation has been removed.

The new agreement also establishes a bilingual stipend for bilingual, including biliterate, staff members if that skill is required for their position. CSEA members will be given the opportunity to express interest in receiving a bilingual stipend. The initial annual bilingual stipend is $750.

The previous agreement allowed for a “leave bank” in which classified employees may donate leave time for a unit member who needs additional sick leave due to a catastrophic illness or event. Only members who donate during the designated period are eligible to be recipients of leave bank time. Members can donate up to half of their annual sick leave.

The previous agreement required members to donate at least one day per year, and members can now donate at least one day every three years. The changes also call for requests for such leave to be reviewed by a leave bank committee consisting of two CSEA members chosen by the chapter and three district representatives with one of those being the superintendent.

A 6.5% salary increase for classified employees will be retroactive to July 1, 2022, and will apply to 2021-22 salaries. The classified employees will also receive an additional 1% off-schedule salary increase retroactive to July 1 and based on the 2022‑23 salary schedule.

“That salary schedule is going to make a difference,” Starkweather said. “It will help with groceries and everything else they’re buying.”

Language rather than substance kept the collective bargaining agreement from being ratified earlier, although both Clevenger and Starkweather would like to avoid that in the future. “We felt and they felt that we’d like to get this done earlier in the year,” Clevenger said. “Our plan is to continue to work collaboratively.”


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