March 23, 2017
Dear Members of the Adelanto Elementary School District Community:
We write to update you on an important issue of interest to our school community as well as to our valued classified staff.
In Fall of 2016, CSEA, the union representing AESD’s classified employees, raised a concern that over many years, some classified employees may not have been properly advanced on the salary schedule. CSEA believes that employees should have been given a year of salary credit at the end of their first school year regardless of the number of days they worked. CSEA asked that these employees be credited with a full year of service, advanced on the salary schedule, and be paid back wages for service credit. CSEA’s proposal for payment to these employees was in excess of $750,000.
Because neither the Education Code nor the AESD/CSEA collective bargaining agreements state the method for triggering salary schedule advancement, the District relies upon its past practice. Upon direction by the Board of Trustees, the accounting firm of Vavrinek, Trine, and Day (“VTD”) with significant experience in school employee compensation matters, did an extensive audit of AESD’s practice and payment to classified employees over nearly 20 years. The VTD report confirmed AESD’s longstanding, consistent practice of the “75% Rule” (an employee must actually work 75% of his/her work year to receive salary service credit and advance to the next step on the schedule) and the District’s belief that it did not owe additional amounts on a unit wide basis. The report identified two employees with possible payment issues based on individual circumstances that will be promptly reviewed and resolved. Other than these two, the report confirms that under the 75% Rule, the underpayments alleged by CSEA did not occur. The auditor’s report, with employee names partially redacted, has been shared with CSEA. The report can be seen [HERE].
It is important for the community to understand that some school districts use each employee’s date of hire as their anniversary date for salary step advancement (meaning 100% of the contracted days must be completed before salary step advancement). Many others, like the Adelanto Elementary School District, use July 1 as the anniversary date for their employees together. These districts usually follow something similar to AESD’s 75% Rule, which is necessary so that there is a sensible threshold to meet before an employee is eligible to advance. Without it, an employee might be hired on June 30 and one day later be eligible for a salary step increase on July 1. Practices like the 75% Rule are in place to prevent this inappropriate result. A survey of how many of the school districts in San Bernardino County approach this issue was also shared with CSEA. Survey results [HERE].
We appreciate CSEA’s patience and continued thoughtful representation of AESD’s classified employees. We believe the VTD report resolves the matter.
Thank you for your interest in AESD and support of all District employees.
Dr. Amy Nguyen-Hernandez, Chief Academic Officer