District and classified workers reach agreement

Salary freezes, furlough days will help bring back some pink-slipped employees
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Loomis Union School District has reached an agreement with classified employees that freezes salaries and adds furlough days that will save jobs. According to Paul Johnson, district superintendent, classified employees agreed to a freeze in salaries based on longevity, added three furlough days to the current school year for 11-month employees, and added one more furlough day for year-round employees. Jay Stewart, assistant superintendent of finance, said the three furlough days taken by classified employees saved the district almost $18,000. He said the savings will be used to bring back some of the 15 classroom aides and a maintenance worker who were pink-slipped. Shirley Gordon is president of the local union for the classified employees. “Our members stepped up to the plate and wanted to save jobs. It’s a hardship for them, but they’re willing to do it,” Gordon said. “They’re a great group. It’s nice working with people like that,” Gordon said. Classified employees include school office staff, librarians, instructional aides, yard duty and custodians and maintenance workers. Stewart said the savings from retirements is still being calculated and will help determine the number of pink slips to be rescinded. “I’m hoping it puts a substantial dent in the number of aides layed off,” Johnson said. The district previously offered classified employees a retirement incentive as an added measure to save jobs. Stewart said five-year employees, age 55 or older, were offered a one-time payment of $10,000. Custodians Tom Childs, at Placer Elementary, and Ken Steward, at H. Clarke Powers Elementary, will retire at end of the school year. Sharon Nottleson, librarian at Franklin Elementary, and Joan McCormick, a classroom aide at Penryn Elementary, will also be retiring. Gordon, district print technician and substitute coordinator, said she is “very proud” of her fellow employees. She said district employees who are members of the California School Employees Association ratified the agreement on May 27. “All of our members realize the crisis our district is in. It’s not the district’s fault. The district has to deal with what the state is handing down,” Gordon said. Classified employee Nadine Bergstrom, Placer School secretary, said she feels “great” that furlough days taken by employees will be used to bring back laid-off classified staff. “It was so disheartening to see really good employees losing their jobs because of the economy. We’re team players. I would do anything I could to save their jobs,” Bergstrom said. Stewart said the district should know by June 30 which pink-slipped classified employees will be returning.