• A woman and a man smiling

      Elizabeth Pomeroy and Brian McDonald (Photos – PUSD.us)

      During the pandemic, the teachers and staff of the Pasadena Unified School District demonstrated the strength of their commitment to the success of our students. They have been resilient, caring, and diligent in working with our students.

      By Elizabeth Pomeroy and Brian McDonald

      The PUSD Board of Education and district leadership are fully committed to raising the level of compensation because we know our employees’ critical role in the lives of our students.

      In this article, we want to focus on one group of employees, our teachers. Earlier this year, the District and United Teachers reached a historic agreement that brings PUSD teacher salaries up and embeds improved compensation into the very DNA of our district. Teachers and other credentialed employees then voted to ratify the agreement that was approved by the Board of Education on March 24, 2022. It is the most significant raise in 15 years.

      An ongoing process

      As with everything in education, raising compensation is an ongoing process, and this agreement with UTP is the foundation for continuing to make PUSD a strong and effective district. The district’s agreement has two parts – one that gives a percentage increase and another that addresses the structural issues of our salary schedule that caused PUSD to have lower salaries than other comparable districts.  Without improving the salary schedule by adding steps (which are yearly raises built into the schedule) and longevity stipends (for working in the district for a certain number of years), PUSD would not be able to close the gap with other districts.

      Current agreement

      The total value of the current agreement is 40% more than the initial 10% across-the-board salary increase that the teachers’ union requested.  All teachers will get more than a 5% raise; some because they have an automatic step increase already and others (about 60% of the teachers) because of these newly proposed steps.  Even those who only get the 5% and their automatic step this year will benefit in future years from the additional steps.  The teachers who are beyond the 8th step on the salary schedule will receive a 5% increase plus a 2.66% in each of the next three years which totals 7.66% in this school year.  Additionally, contingent on the Governor’s budget proposal to change the funding model as it related to Average Daily Attendance being approved by the state legislature, a teacher on step 26 or above will receive an ongoing longevity stipend of 2.5%.  This means that teachers on step 26 and above would see an increase of 10.16% this school year.  The salary increases are retroactive to July 1, 2021.

      Tough but fair bargaining sessions

      We would like to take this opportunity to thank the district’s bargaining team as well as the UTP team led by President Dr. Allison Steppes for the tough but fair bargaining sessions that led to this agreement. We remain dedicated to continually improving conditions for our teachers and staff, even as the past two years of COVID have created tremendous challenges for the entire PUSD community.

      PUSD acknowledges the value of retaining our dedicated staff in the face of personnel shortages, a situation many other school districts across the country also encountered.

      Amazing educators and staff

      We have faced the financial challenges that COVID has presented over the past two years, including providing computers, new ventilation equipment, and personal protection to meet new standards involved with the pandemic. Plans that were in place to address facility issues have had to be adjusted to meet the new realities that COVID has presented.

      Our principals and administrative staff have also stepped forward in constantly changing circumstances to provide the best education possible for all our students. In a subsequent piece, we will provide more information about the increases given to the administrators and non-unionized employees of our district.

      As we look forward to the start of the new school year, we are in a stronger position with a cadre of amazing educators who are getting well-deserved increases in compensation.

      Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy is the PUSD’s Board of Education President. Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
      is the Superintendent for Pasadena Unified School District.


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