HUSD and union avert strike

Certificated teachers to receive three 1.5 percent salary increases

■ Mary Ann Morris / Editor

Hemet Unified School District teachers and union representatives can rest easy now that mediation has hammered out a mutually satisfying contract for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. The contract is now closed and will be ratified by HTA members and approved by the Governing Board of Education.
After negotiations stalled with no resolution in sight March 29, mediators were called in to help reach an agreement. While Hemet teachers are paid similarly to those in surrounding districts, the union claimed that a salary disparity in the middle of the pay scale causes the district to lose teachers to other districts.
Superintendent Christi Barrett conceded that while salary could be a factor, teachers leave for a variety of reasons. The new contract hopes to close that mid-range gap.
“There were many incremental improvements made on several issues that will serve our students and educators better in the future,” said Hemet Teachers Association President William Valenzuela. “We will never stop fighting to ensure our schools are filled with the quality, caring individuals that our community has become known for.”
The tentative agreement states that all certificated salary schedules will be adjusted to reflect a 1.5 percent increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017 for the 2016-17 school year; a 1.5 percent increase effective July 1; and an additional 1.5 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2018 for the 2017-18 school year. HUSD will also provide an annual $750 stipend to Nationally Board Certified school psychologists, an annual $3,000 stipend to the agricultural service provider, and will increase retiree health and welfare benefits from $3,500 to $4,500.
“I want to thank the negotiation teams for their diligent efforts in reaching a solution,” said Barrett. “We are thankful that the relationship between the District and the HTA has remained strong throughout the negotiations process. This resolution will allow us to remain focused on the most important work of the district, our students’ success.”
Hemet teachers earn between $49,872 and $101,205, based on experience and education. A Hemet teacher with four years’ experience earns $51,000 to $66,000. A teacher in San Jacinto with the same qualifications is paid $50,000 to $69,000 and teachers in Murrieta Valley Unified earn $53,000 to $64,000. An 8 percent raise was negotiated in 2015-16, with an additional 2 percent the next year.

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