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Most Clovis School Employees Get 7% Raise. ACE Psychologists Still Negotiating.



Most Clovis Unified employees will get a 7% pay bump, but it could get bigger after a market study is completed. (GV Wire File)
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Most Clovis Unified School District employees will get an across-the-board 7% pay increase, and they could get more depending on the results of a pending market study, district officials say.

The pay raise applies to all employees except school psychologists and mental health counselors now represented by the Association of Clovis Educators.

And, while a 7% raise might look generous to some, it won’t completely close the pay gap for Clovis teachers when compared with other educators in the region, ACE and the district acknowledge.

Kristin Heimerdinger, an ACE spokeswoman who teaches at Buchanan High School, said she’s doubtful that employees would have gotten as much as 7% if the union’s organizing activities weren’t putting pressure on the district.

ACE is still in the process of collecting signatures to be recognized as the union representative for all certificated employees, including the district’s 1,800 teachers. The union has filed several unfair labor charges against the district with the California Public Employment Relations Board, alleging the district has impeded its efforts to organize.

Biggest Raise Ever

Heimerdinger said the 7% raise is the biggest in her 29 years as an educator.

But even so, “we’re still near or at the bottom” when compared with other like-funded districts, she said.

The closest “like-funded” district is in the Sacramento area, she said.

The recommendation for a 7% pay increase came out of Clovis Unified’s employee compensation committee, which includes representatives of all the district’s employee units, including the Faculty Senate, the new psychologists’ union, and the budding teachers union, spokeswoman Kelly Avants said in an email.

But Heimerdinger said that the committee’s past recommendations are why employees are comparatively low-paid today. She said the district is sitting on a 26.7% reserve, more than double what is required by the board’s policy of maintaining at least 10% of the budgeted general fund in reserve. And the board’s policy is well above the 2% required for Clovis Unified by the state, she said.

However, Clovis Unified’s bargaining agreement this week reported a projected reserve of 18.03% as of the third quarter this year, and said that the reserve is projected to drop to 13.11% in the 2022-23 fiscal year and remain close to that level for the following three years.

Districts maintain reserves as a cushion against economic downturns to protect against layoffs.

Market Study Underway

There could yet be more money coming to Clovis Unified paychecks. The district commissioned a market study to compare salaries and wages and has budgeted $12.8 million to implement the results of the study.

The study was requested by the employee compensation committee, which will analyze the results and then make recommendations, Avants said.

District officials had hoped the study would be completed by the end of the school year, she said. “However, given the size, scope, and complexity of the project, our consultant’s timeline got extended into the summer/fall.”

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email