State pays district more than budget, Visalia Unified board ups 3% raise in May to 3.7% for all employees
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – Visalia Unified employees will get a pleasant surprise in their paychecks this year.
On July 24, the Visalia Unified School District (VUSD) Board approved a 0.7% raise for classified staff, teachers and administrators for 2018-19 school year. It was the second raise in just two months for VUSD employees who received a 3% cost of living raise in May. Dr. Tamara Ravalin, assistant superintendent of human resources development, said the extra .7% was a result of the California Department of Education providing more money than what was budgeted for the district.
“I’ve been in district administration for 20 years and I don’t recall that ever happening,” Ravalin said.
More specifically, Ravalin said the district received an additional $20 million allocated to ongoing funds, such as salaries and benefits, and slightly less to one-time funds, such as student tablets or laptops. Ravalin said the shift in funding meant there was more money for employees and the district opted to give it to them.
“We settled in good faith in May based on a certain amount that was budgeted at the time,” Ravalin said. “So when the number was higher, the district, in good faith, gave the employees more.”
The 3.7% raise is just one part of the new contract approved by the district for the current school year. VUSD agreed to absorb a $72 per year increase to employee health plans keeping the employee contribution unchanged at $1,258 per year for a single payer. For teachers, the district also agreed to work toward an average class size of 26 students beginning in the 2019-20 school year.