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HUNTINGTON BEACH : District Employees to Get 1% Pay Bonus

The Ocean View School District board, despite opposition from two trustees and some parents, voted last week to give all district employees a onetime, 1% pay bonus.

Opponents argued that the salary stipends, which officials say will cost the district $270,000, should have instead been spent on educational programs.

The bonuses were prompted by clauses in the district’s contract agreements reached last year with its two employee unions, representing teachers and all other employees except administrators. In both contracts, the district agreed to pay the bonuses if funds from a state supplemental grant were not restricted for certain uses.

The grants can only be spent on 27 specific educational programs, officials said. But since the district has spent some of the grant money for other previously budgeted programs, Supt. Monte McMurray said general fund money will be used to pay the bonuses.

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Although legal advisers have told Ocean View officials that they are not contractually required to pay the bonuses, the district proposed to do so anyway “in the spirit of the intent of the agreement,” McMurray said.

The 1% raise will lift the low Ocean View teacher salary to $22,029, the high to $51,351 and the median to $37,626. The low non-teaching union employee salary will rise to $11,463, the high to $30,324 and the median to $20,894.

For the sake of parity, the board also extended the bonuses to administrators, although they are not represented under any union contract.

Several angry parents said they objected to the budgetary shell game the district played in earmarking the stipends, which they considered improper.

“It appears to me that this district has treated teachers far more generously than we can afford,” parent James Ball told trustees at their meeting this week.

Trustees Carolyn Hunt, Sheila Marcus and Carol Kanode voted in favor of the bonuses.

Board President Lottie Hobbs and Trustee Tracy Pellman abstained from voting on the bonuses for contracted employees and opposed bonuses for administrators.

“I’m deeply saddened that this issue has pitted parents, teachers and board members against each other,” Pellman said. “We should have some policy so we don’t promise monies to go one place as opposed to another.”

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