Support staff gets 6% in retroactive raises

Gilroy school board ratifies labor agreement

Gilroy school district negotiators agreed to a new contract with its support staff that was then ratified by the board of education at a Feb. 14 meeting.

The Gilroy Federation of Paraeducators came to an agreement with Gilroy Unified School District on the deal that includes a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2017; a 2 percent pay bump retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018; and a 2 percent hike retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019.

The initial 2 percent pay increase was included as part of the current 2018-19 budget, at a cost of $115,240. The additional impact to the current and subsequent fiscal years is $57,620 for fiscal year 2018-19; $189,007 for fiscal year 2019-20; and $266,268 by the end of 2019-20, according to staff.

Also part of the contract is an increase to the district’s medical contributions effective Jan. 1, 2020, according to staff.

Paraeducators are school employees who work alongside and/or under the direction of a licensed or certificated educator to support and assist in providing instructional and non-instructional services to children, youth and their families, according to the National Education Association.

Employees in this bargaining group include general paraeducators, special education paraeducators, bilingual/biliterate paraeducators, technology paraeducators, assessment paraeducators as well as home visitor, special education behavior support assistant, instructional assistant, district translator and occupational therapist.

There is a wide range in salaries, from a “Step 1” general paraeducator earning $12.84 per hour to a “Step 5” occupational therapist earning $51.84 per hour, according to GUSD’s 2016-17 salary schedule.

With the retroactive salary increases, a general paraeducator’s hourly rate rose to $13.61 per hour while an occupational therapist’s hourly rate s now $54.95 as of Jan. 1, 2019.

GUSD receives $630k block grant

Gilroy Unified School District was allocated more than $630,000 from the California Department of Education as part of its Low-Performing Students Block Grant, according to a staff report.

The grant provides money for local education agencies serving students identified as low-performing on the most recent state English language arts or mathematics assessments who are not otherwise identified for supplemental grant funding under the local control funding formula, or eligible for special  education services. This group of students thus excludes English learners, foster youth and low-income students.

The CDE identified 319 Gilroy students in grades 4-12 who meet the criteria for the funds. The total apportionment for the district is $630,352  to be spent over the next three years.

The funds must be used on evidence-based services that directly support students’ academic achievement, according to the report. Eligible activities include professional development for certificated staff, instructional materials and additional support for students.

Districts must submit the first report outlining a tentative plan by March 1. The final report is due November 2021.

Funds are available through the 2020-21 school year.