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Pay cut reprieve
Increase enrollment puts end to TUSD, union impasse
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Teachers and employees of Turlock Unified School District got some rare good news on Tuesday, as the Board of Trustees approved salary schedules without any pay cuts for the year.

“We had a surprise this year that allowed us to not make any changes for this year’s budget,” said TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto.  “Enrollment increased by 221 students providing us with more revenue to give to our teachers and employees and not force us to go through deficit spending.  It’s always much more fun to give away money than to spend it.”

Earlier in the year, the school district had reached an impasse in negotiations with all three unions — TTA, California School Employees Association and the Turlock Classified - American Federation of Teachers — over how a proposed 2.4 percent salary cut for all employees would be implemented.

“We finally settled for this year,” said Turlock Teachers Association President Julie Shipman.  “They took all three units to fact finding and then agreed to no cuts for this school year.”

Union and district representatives present at Tuesday’s board meeting praised the end to what had become contentious negotiations.

“I truly appreciate the work and the time committed by Lori Decker and the entire TUSD negotiating team as well as the work and time of Jennifer Collins and the TTA negotiating team,” said TUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Heidi Lawler.  “Our teachers and all certificated staff represented by this unit are appreciated for their work and preparing, delivering, and supporting of standing instruction to educate students who attend Turlock schools.”

“Every day members of CSEA support students through maintaining and cleaning our schools and transportation efforts, as well as the determination to ensure safety at all of our campuses. It can be overlooked at times so tonight I’d like to say thank you to those employees and their service and also,” said CSEA representative Jason Maggard. 

All three bargaining units are safe from cuts, at least for the time being.  If the education tax initiatives fail to pass on the November ballot, teachers and classified employees will be forced to take a 4.1 percent cut from their paycheck and up to five furlough days during the school year.

Both the district and the unions are putting all of their hope into the tax initiatives passing, which includes Governor Jerry Brown’s Initiative and Our Children, Our Future, sponsored by the PTA.

“As long as Proposition 30 passes this November, we don’t have to worry about cuts,” said Shipman.