TUSD restores custodial funds, approves teacher pay adjustments

2013-09-11T00:00:00Z TUSD restores custodial funds, approves teacher pay adjustmentsBy Alexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Eighteen TUSD schools will get some additional custodial help after the Governing Board approved restoration of $325,000 in funds that were cut at the end of last school year.

Though it’s not a full restoration of the money that was taken away — custodial lost $2 million in funding — it will support employees by offering part-timers full-time positions.

The schools that will receive additional assistance are: Blenman, Catalina, Cholla, Cragin, Doolen, Magee, Mansfeld, Palo Verde, Pistor, Pueblo, Rincon, Roberts/Naylor, Sabino, Sahuaro, Santa Rita, Utterback, Vail and Wright.

TUSD facilities maintenance and repair departments have been impacted by not only the maintenance and operations budget cuts, but also by the elimination of state School Facilities Board building renewal funding and the end of the district’s bond program.

As a result, the Tucson Unified School District decided to eliminate its preventative maintenance team and assign their tasks to those in the facilities trade shops.

TUSD will now spend $175,000 to fund four new skilled trade positions — two HVAC positions, one electrician and one plumber.

The district will carry on the preventative maintenance schedule through the various trade shops by rotating tradesmen through an ongoing preventative maintenance team.

In July, when the TUSD Governing Board approved the restoration of funds to custodial and preventative maintenance, it also OK’d the allocation of $1 million to teacher compensation to address salary compression.

On Tuesday, the Board approved a plan to ensure current TUSD teachers with equal years of experience are not compensated less than new hires with non-TUSD experience.

The practice, which TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez called nonsensical, was approved years ago as part of an effort to be competitive and offer the highest starting salaries in the area, said TUSD Board President Adelita Grijalva.

Grijalva, who was part of that vote, acknowledges the board was warned about what could come of such a practice, but she is now “happy to rectify some of what the vote caused.”

It’s not clear yet how many teachers will benefit from this plan, which is expected to span three years. The district will work to determine the most affected teachers and compensate them first, followed by the moderately affected teachers in year two and the least affected teachers in year three.

The money for teacher compensation and the restoration of funds to the custodial and preventative maintenance departments comes from $4.2 million in increased funding from the state.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea atahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175. On Twitter

@AlexisHuicochea

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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