• A building with stairs and large glass windows

      Pasadena Unified School District (Photo – Staff)

      Late Wednesday evening, the district posted updated layoff resolutions for its February 22 board meeting. The board is now slated to approve reductions of 109.4 certificated staff positions and 97 classified staff positions at its meeting tonight. These over 200 positions represent about 10% of the district’s total of approximately 2000 positions, and is the largest reduction ever made by the district in a single year.

      By News Desk

      In recent months the board approved (or offered) 10% salary and benefit raises for the current year for all of its staff. Together with the 10% raises granted in 22-23 and 8% raises for most teachers in 21-22, the last three years of raises are the highest in the history of the district. These reductions reflect the need to fund these raises and also the need to adjust for declines in enrollment-based revenue. They also anticipate reductions in state funding in 2024-25 and beyond because of the decrease in revenues for the state, which provides the great majority of funding for the schools.

      Recent raises in salary and benefits for PUSD employee groups

      This past November, the district and its teachers’ union agreed to a financial package worth $12.84 million in ongoing costs to the district. It consisted of a 10% across-the-board raise in salaries for all unit members retroactive to July 1, 2023, about 1% in district-absorbed increased health and welfare benefit costs for the 2023-24 year, and a $500 increase in stipends for all special education teachers.

      Last month, the district offered its classified employee union a similar package worth $3.14 million in ongoing costs to the district, with an identical 10% across the board raise and 1.7% in district-absorbed increased health and welfare benefits.

      At its meeting this Thursday evening, an agreement with its administrators association is slated for approval. Its ongoing cost is listed as $3.66 million. It contains the identical 10% across the board raise and other enhancements that bring the total increase in salary costs for this year for supervisors and management to 11.31%, plus about 11.08% increase in district-absorbed retirement costs and other statutory benefits.

      The district also has a maintenance and operations union that will receive a similar package. The total ongoing cost of the increased salary and benefit packages that will be approved for this year will thus be over $20 million.

      The math is about the same

      When one uses an estimated cost of roughly $150,000 in salary and benefits for an average certificated employee, 109.4 positions equate to $16.4 million. Using an estimated cost of $75,000 in salary and benefits for an average classified employee, 97 positions equate to $7.3 million.

      That’s a total of $23.7 million using very rough estimates. The correlation between the amount saved by these reductions and the increases in employee salaries and benefits and other rising costs is nearly one-to-one, as is the correlation between this year’s raises (10%) and the proportion of the total district positions (roughly 10%) that are slated for elimination tonight.

      Which positions will be cut?

      The final layoff resolutions (see link 1) (see link 2) posted late last night show that the reductions in positions span all areas of the district.

      Some of the certificated positions are listed as vacant. For most certificated positions listed, and all of the classified positions listed, the district has not identified which are vacant and which are currently occupied.

      Which employees would ultimately be laid off?

      Current employees targeted for layoff may have what are known as retreat rights based on their seniority and their union contracts. If they are employees laid off from non-school-based positions, they would have a right to return to school-site positions. This would displace other school-based employees with less seniority in those positions. The district is in the process of notifying employees to receive a layoff notice. An administrative law judge must approve the final seniority-based layoff list.

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