ENCINITAS — All 545 EUSD (Encinitas Union School District) employees received a 2.5 percent raise — retroactive to July 2013 — as part of a three-year contract.
The EUSD board of trustees unanimously approved the salary increases on March 11.
“It’s a way of recognizing the hard work of our employees,” said Angelica Lopez, assistant superintendent of administrative services, on March 14.
Of the 545 employees, 275 are teachers, 35 are in management and 235 are “classified” support positions like custodians and office managers. Substitute teachers, along with other hourly employees, did not get a salary hike because they aren’t district employees.
Last fall, EUSD officials began talks with the unions TOE (Teachers of Encinitas) and COE (Classified of Encinitas).
TOE asked for a 5 percent salary increase during the early stages of negotiations. Eventually, a 2.5 percent was settled on as a compromise, Lopez said.
Leslie O’Keefe, TOE president, did not respond to a request for comment.
EUSD receives most of its funding from property taxes. Lopez noted the district felt comfortable granting the raises after reviewing projections showing an increase in property tax revenue.
“We wanted to make sure we could continue to pay for the raises over a long period,” Lopez said.
This is the first raise for district employees in six years, another reason the district approved the increase, she said.
Because EUSD agreed to a raise with TOE, the district’s “me too” clause also gave a corresponding salary increase to COE and management, Lopez said. She added the clause is common in school districts throughout the country.
Bumping up teacher pay 2.5 percent will cost EUSD $580,269 each year, according to a staff analysis. For a new teacher who began the school year at $39,200, pay will go up $980 this year.
Respectively, the annual expense for increasing classified employees’ salaries is $168,442 and for management it’s $80,794.
The recent round of negotiations, according to Lopez, didn’t impact benefits.
She noted that many teachers and school employees across the state have received salary increases this year due to budget situations improving.
EUSD’s general fund this year calls for $47.8 million in revenue and $51.8 million in expenses, with nearly $10.3 million in reserves.
As recently as two years ago, EUSD considered laying off 36 teachers. But it ultimately decided not to go through with it, largely due to the passage of Proposition 30. Ultimately, the measure translated into the district keeping funds that would have otherwise gone to the state.