The Grade Blog

Monday, Apr 07 2014 09:27 PM

KHSD approves 5 percent raise for teachers, 2 new principals

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

The Kern High School District Board of Trustees approved a package of salary raises for five groups of union workers Monday at the KHSD district office.

District representatives ratified collective bargaining agreements that include a 1-percent raise this year and a 4-percent hike next year for workers in two classified unions as well as teachers, supervisors and trade union workers.

The bump for educators alone will cost the district about $10.8 million.

In closed session Monday night, the board also appointed new principals for Foothill and West high schools.

Under the KHSD collective bargaining agreement, teachers will earn between $1,860 and $4,680 more in 2014-15 than in 2012-13. The average teacher earning $68,000 annually will be able to tack on $3,400 more.

Chad Vegas, president of the KHSD school board, said he was happy to support added funding and said he wished the district had more money to give employees.

"We're excited, and it's long overdue," said Vickie Shoenhair, president of the Kern High School Teachers Association, after the meeting.

Janet Schultz, a veteran teacher at Bakersfield High School, said educators have not even asked for pay increases in seven years.

"We all recognized the economic situation," Schultz said.

But the climate of pink slips and furloughs that characterized districts throughout the state has improved.

Voters approved a temporary tax increase in 2012. Legislators passed a new school funding formula aimed at funneling more dollars to schools demonstrating the greatest need. And more than 25 Kern County school districts have implemented on-schedule raises this school year.

"I think our teachers have worked really hard over the last seven years," Shoenhair said. "I think it's time that they will be able to reap a little bit of the benefit for the work they put in."

The Kern High School District Board of Trustees also appointed Gail Bentley as the new principal of Foothill High School and Terrie Bernardin as the new principal of West High School.

Bentley, who will join the Foothill campus in August, is an assistant principal at Stockdale High School. Bernardin served as an assistant principal at West.

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