Classified staff reach agreement with Hart district

Rodrigo Mendoza, right, leads the dozens of attendees in a chant for equal pay and benefits during a protest in front of the William S. Hart Union School District offices in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 060822. Dan Watson/The Signal

The William S. Hart Union High School District and its chapter of the California School Employees Association have reached an agreement that, should it be adopted by the district’s governing board, improves staff pay and health benefits, according to officials.  

The agreement for classified staff — a designation for those non-teacher and non-administrator staff on campuses — includes a 4% on-schedule raise and the district will cover the full cost of dental and vision benefits.  

The district has also agreed to increase the health benefits cap from $14,500 to $15,000. 

“They are grateful to the school board for listening to their comments and taking action to address the extreme inequities that exist between classified staff and teachers/administrators,” said Jessica Morrow, a CSEA labor relations representative.  

“I’m very pleased to hear that the teams were able to work out an agreement that was beneficial to both the classified staff and the district,” Hart district board President Joe Messina said on Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to a new year.”  

The agreement stems from a number of conversations and follows a rally that occurred earlier this month in front of the district offices. Standing in front of the district office, waving signs and chanting “equal pay, equal benefits,” the CSEA members argued some have seen their wages relatively deteriorate by as much as 58% since 2015, with respect to the rising rate of minimum wage. 

They also said that they paid 33% out of pocket to cover health care premiums, while teachers and administrators pay 12%. 

Morrow, who attended both the meeting and the rally, said that the district had received a 5.33% cost-of-living adjustment from the state for special categories and COVID-19.  

“To retain and continue to hire the best-quality candidates for classified positions, there must be an increase to wages and benefits,” Morrow said during the governing board meeting that followed the rally on June 8. “I respectfully encourage you to direct the district administration to provide a wage increase commensurate with the COLA increase they have received from the state.”  

The governing board’s next meeting, where the board could adopt the new CSEA agreement, is scheduled to take place later this summer.  

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