CUSD Agrees on New Collective Bargaining Agreement

CUSD board member Hugh Awtry commenting on the employee collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. (CUSD/YouTube)

The Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) governing board approved the employee collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the 2021-22 year at the June 9 board meeting.

As part of the new CBA, salary costs will be increased by $14.2 million, and benefit costs will increase by $3.6 million, along with a list of other concessions reviewed by the employee compensation committee (ECC).

The source of funding for the CBA agreement comes from combining the projected 2021-22 budget and savings made during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

CUSD saved $13 million due to budget cuts made last year, and the district’s general fund is projected at 20.7% for 2020-21, according to third-quarter budget projections.

“ECC, in their review of the budget, felt that we were in a fiscally sound position to be able for them to recommend the increase to salary,” CUSD Superintendent Dr. Eimear O’Farrell.

Based on the Governor’s May Revise for 2020-21, the State is projecting a 5% Mega cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

The COLA and an increase in unduplicated student count, the count that calculates LCFF funding, will generate an additional $20.9 million of ongoing revenue.

The consensus among the school board was that the district’s employees were deserving of the increases and other concessions, especially after their work during the pandemic.

“We reduced budgets. We’ve cut things back, and we’re catching up,” said board member Hugh Awtry. “Our employees work hard in our district. And they deserve compensation that compares with districts around us.”

CUSD Board President Dr. Steven Fogg said although the board believes the district’s employees deserve the increases, discussing increasing salaries and expenses is not an easy task.

Dr. Fogg stated due to the board uncertainty of where things were headed during the pandemic, the district chose not to make any changes for its employees. But now, they have the resources necessary to make those changes.

The CBA incorporates several concessions, including an increase in longevity stipends for non-management employees, an additional $1 million contribution to the district’s health plan, and a reduction of duty days from 188 to 186 without reducing employee pay.

“I am very supportive of this action item and these five [topics],” Dr. Fogg said. “I think it [the CBA] will strengthen our district … and continue to attract the type of employees that we need to move forward as a district.”

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.