District: Employees acknowledged

Eric White Elementary School employees receive awards from Principal Sandra Aguilera, at left, during the Oct. 10 Selma Unified School Board meeting. From left to right next to Aguilera are Alexandra Carrillo, P.J. Yount, Gabriel Cazarez and Roque Martinez. Aguilera said she wanted to highlight the employees since their work makes the teaching process possible.

SELMA – A number of Selma Unified employees were recognized for helping with their behind-the-scenes efforts in the learning process at the Oct. 10 board meeting and the board also accepted a classification and salary study that will be voted on at the next board meeting.

Eric White Elementary Principal Sandra Aguilera said she wanted to highlight the employees since their work makes the teaching process possible.

Alexandra Carrillo, the district’s director of child nutrition, was given the Welcome to Awesome award.

“My secretary and I did a little research about how many kids we have in the district and how many staff and school sites there are. According to our figures, Alexandra’s responsible for making sure about 6,500 students in our district have meals and not only once a day, but we provide the breakfast, lunch and supper program. We thank you because without our students having that basic need met, the learning process can’t take place,” Aguilera said.

P.J. Yount, the district’s print shop operator, was given the Consider It Done award.

“I know I’ve called and said, ‘P.J. I want to have this for my teachers in two days. Can you do it?’ And P.J. is that person who says ‘consider it done.’ Our teachers go through lessons every day and they need materials. We have about 490 certificated staff in the district, and that’s not even counting the administrators. Everybody needs print work, so without you the teaching process could not take place.”

Gabriel Cazarez, HVAC specialist, was given the Excellent Customer Service award.

“We all know if we are uncomfortable and it’s too hot or two cold, we can’t learn or teach and we’re just off. There are many times at the beginning of the year where I’ll tell Gabe a certain room’s [air-conditioning] isn’t working or I have a staff meeting and I need it to be cool in there. I’ll send Gabe a text and it can be a weekend where we’ve worked on a Sunday to make sure Eric White is up and running.”

Roque Martinez, Director of Operations, was given the Marvelous and Magnificent award.

“He’s just right on top of everything. Just one piece of his job is to make sure over 500 rooms get cleaned every day. And this could be classrooms, libraries, offices, kitchens and gyms. Rocky is overseeing that process. He’s another person where I’ll be getting ready in the morning, and it’s really early but I’ll call. It could even be on the weekend. I’m thinking I’ll leave him a message but he answers,” Aguilera said. “He always comes through.”

Aguilera also thanked the families in attendance as often these district employees’ jobs run into overtime, late night or weekends, she said.

“I know that takes from family, so in an indirect way family members are supporting our schools, too.”

Classification and salary study

The board also accepted a study conducted by Ewing Consulting that looked at the job descriptions and salaries of the district’s classified employees. This includes staff in such departments as accounting, clerical, campus safety, custodial, food services, grounds, instructional support, information technology, library/media, maintenance, printing services, student services, transportation and warehouse.

The firm’s president William Ewing has been working on the study since February and says it’s typical of school districts throughout the state to conduct such studies between three to seven years. He estimates Selma Unified last conducted one in 1989.

“The whole idea is to take a snapshot of the district at a particular point in time and ask of our classified and confidential people, do we have people in the right classifications with the right title and a good job description. Then, are we paying them at a rate of pay where we can attract them and retain them here in the district?” Ewing said during the meeting.

SUSD staff filled out questionnaires, were interviewed and then also gave feedback on the report before Ewing submitted it to the board.

Ewing reported that 177 questionnaires were received and 131 people were interviewed over a three-week period.

He also looked into staff pay levels considering where the job ranked in relationship to others in the department and then also at similar jobs in neighboring districts.

“The district came up with quite a long list of other districts they wanted to compare with,” Ewing said.

The salaries of comparable jobs at districts such as Lemoore, Hanford, Dinuba Kingsburg and Cutler-Orosi were used to come up with a benchmark salary.

Ewing used the position of payroll technician as an example to show that while Selma Unified pays an hourly maximum of $24.66, the survey showed that a median salary would be $26.10.

“This one, payroll technician, this is what the market is paying for them right now,” he said of the higher salary. “You’re paying just a little bit under market for that job.”

Ewing said they started with the median of the market to let the district do a comparison to then slot jobs on the district’s salary schedule and negotiate from there.

“So if you wanted to be a district that was paying in the middle of the education market place in this area, then that number would be the salary survey median we show,” he said.

Ewing used the data to make range recommendations and said the process, referred to as market pricing, “assures the district of a consistent and methodical way of setting salaries.”

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction/Personnel Teresa Wood said the report would be brought back at the board’s next meeting for a vote on the revised job descriptions.

“If you look at the job descriptions, I’ll bring them back to the next board meeting for you to approve them. Some of the titles are radically different,” Wood said. She also thanked advisory committee members that helped with the process. Those include district staff Bobby Alves, Jeannette Baughman, Mark Bautista, Merari Bernal, Lucy Calvillo, Tiera Cox, Gerri Garcia, Eva Herrera, Tracie Howell, Daniel Johnson, Mari Johnson, Rose Rangel, Christina Lallas, Tony Lopez, Estella Lorona-Kessler, Roque Martinez, Larry Teixeira, Kristy Winter, Wood, Estella Kessler, Mari Johnson and Daniel Johnson.

The board also approved soliciting bids to replace the roof on the Industrial Arts building at Selma High as there are leaks in the corrugated tin roof. Work on the roof would take place in June when school is out.

Also, a total of $2,345 in donations was accepted from local citizens and businesses for the high school.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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