Support staff at Turlock schools get new contract and a raise

Classified workers in Turlock schools have a new contract and a 3 percent raise to match the boost given to teachers and managers this year.

The raise applies retroactively to July 1, 2007, for the 550 support staffers in the Turlock Unified School District. The 3 percent bump translates to an increase of 40 to 75 cents per hour, depending on the job and years of service.

Union and district leaders agreed on the 3 percent raise in April, but the sticking point was a contract provision that allowed workers' starting and ending work hours to be altered by 45 minutes.

Union officials ultimately agreed to table the issue until negotiations start again in early 2009.

"It took longer than we thought, but we're happy to get done with it," said Tony Rojas, president of the California School Employees Association's Turlock chapter. "We were able to come to an agreement that we could live with on both sides."

The Turlock board of trustees also awarded bids this week for the first phase of modernization projects at Brown, Crowell, Cunningham and Osborn elementary schools. Teichert Construction won the bid to perform the majority of the upgrades -- including improving parking lots, installing fire hydrants and preparing surfaces for new portable classrooms -- for $837,335. The board chose Edwards & Associates' bid of $31,900 to relocate playground equipment.

The upgrades are being funded by Measure Z, a $9.9 million school bond passed by voters in 2006, along with matching state funds.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.