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11.8.2021 – Election Results

Hello ACE Members,  

   Below are the results of your ACE elections.   

President 

        Number of eligible voters:  346 

        Number who voted: 196 

        Response Rate 57% 

           1) Scott Olsen:  

                Number of Votes:   191

           2) Abstain:  

                 Number of Votes: 5
  

3 Negotiators at Large
       Voters were required to choose at least 1 and up to 3 candidates. 

        Number of Eligible Voters: 346 

        Number Who Voted:  196 

         Response Rate 57% 

            1) Andrea Santa Cruz: 

                  Number of Votes:  126

            2) Keri Kirkpatrick:  

                  Number of Votes: 120

            3) Joseph Gilmore:  

                  Number of Votes: 96

            4)  Dana Kennedy:   

                   Number of Votes: 82

 5)  Sushini Chand:  

                  Number of Votes: 55

 6)  Adriana Garcia:  

       Number of Votes: 33

 7) Mrinmaie Deshpande : 

       Number of Votes: 26

 8) Abstain: 

      Number of Votes: 4

Vice President Central Services  

           Number of Eligible Voters: 65 

          Number Who Voted:  33 

          Response Rate 51% 

             1) Bill Baldwin:   

                   Number of Votes:  31 

             2) Abstain:  

                   Number of Votes: 2 

 Negotiator Central Services 

Number of Eligible Voters: 65 

         Number Who Voted:  33 

         Response Rate 51% 

            1) Chris White:  

                    Number of Votes:    24 

            2) Terry Rowe: 

       Number of Votes:    9 

3) Abstain: 

                   Number of Votes:    0 

Vice President De Anza  

           Number of Eligible Voters: 188  

          Number Who Voted:  115 

          Response Rate 61% 

              1) Vins Chacko:  

                      Number of Votes:   107  

              2) Abstain: 

                       Number of Votes:   8 

Board Member De Anza Seat 1 

           Number of Eligible Voters: 188  

          Number Who Voted:  115 

          Response Rate 61% 

              1) Sasha Bostic:  

                       Number of Votes:   109  

              2) Abstain: 

                      Number of Votes: 6  

Negotiator De Anza  

         Number of Eligible Voters:  188 

         Number Who Voted:  115 

         Response Rate 61% 

1) Cathleen Monsell:   

        Number of Votes:  110 

2) Abstain  

        Number of Votes:  5 

Chief Steward Foothill  

          Number of Eligible Voters:  93 

          Number Who Voted:  48 

          Response Rate 52% 

 1) Andre Meggerson:   

         Number of Votes: 45 

 2) Abstain  

         Number of Votes:  3 

Board Member Foothill 

Number of Eligible Voters:  93 

Number Who Voted:  48 

Response Rate 52% 

   1) Catalina Rodriguez:   

         Number of Votes:  31 

   2) Melia Arken:   

         Number of Votes: 16 

   3) Abstain  

         Number of Votes: 1 

Negotiator Foothill 

Number of Eligible Voters:  93 

Number Who Voted:  48 

Response Rate 52% 

   1) Chris Chavez:   

         Number of Votes:  47 

   2) Abstain:  

         Number of Votes: 1

ACE Update 09.30.2021: Work; 2021 COVID Sick Leave Extension; ACE Files Lawsuits Against District; ACE Elections; ACE Adopted Budget

There Is A Lot of Work To Do

A few things are clear to me, we have done a lot over the past year including wrapping up the classification/compensation study which increased pay for 75 percent of our membership, negotiated health benefits for plan year 2022 which are still comprehensible and affordable, and navigated a pandemic so no one lost their job.  Concerns around returning to campus, fuzzy vaccine mandate procedures, financial costs due to delays in implementing the compensation study, a missed holiday, and upcoming ACE elections remind me we still have a lot of work to do.

Return to Campus 
It is within the purview of the District to ask you to return to campus, and to be clear, quite a few of our colleagues have been working on campus for the past year. ACE and the District continue to follow the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (CalOSHA) approved emergency regulations.  The District has encouraged workers to submit written requests to their supervisor for any personal protection equipment (PPE) and has extended COVID 19 sick leave (see below) for any concerns related to time off for COVID or vaccine related needs. They have repeatedly stated they want to encourage flexibility when it comes to returning to campus.  ACE will be surveying the membership within the next two weeks to see what options were actually provided to staff who returned to campus and/or continue to work remotely.  The participatory governance groups will be addressing a district remote work policy and administrative procedures (AP) in the upcoming weeks.  We’ve had the option to work remotely in our agreement for well over a decade and ACE will be watching to make sure the policy or AP do not violate our agreement. Your senate should be including you in this process.

Vaccine Mandate
The union was not involved in developing or implementing vaccine protocols and we have requested to bargain the impact. We are still waiting for a response on a couple of critical issues.  

Representation and ACE Elections
Member representation remains a priority for ACE. Within the last month, the ACE Executive Board authorized two legal actions against the District (see below) affecting the membership at large. We continue to represent countless members to make certain they were treated fairly by management on issues around compensation, work placement,  or discipline. While the state included a 5.07 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2021-2022 budget, the District does not automatically pass it through to employees. Your negotiating team makes that happen. They’re at the table now. Imagine how different all of this would look without a collective bargaining agreement. 

Representation doesn’t happen without you. Elections for new ACE officers and negotiators are scheduled to take place in October.  Positions and job descriptions are listed below. 

Thank You
I have said on more than one occasion, our association only works with the active participation of the membership. You have shown up in spades to make this work. Often after speaking with their colleagues, new employees join ACE. Our calls to action for officers or committee members are filled quickly. Attendance at site and board meetings continues to increase, and I am humbled by the ACE officers and negotiators who represent this organization with humility, grace, and a demonstrated willingness to always put the good of the members first. Simply put, thank you.

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office

“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes.  It is always about people”. – César Chávez


2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave – Extended Through December 2021

The District is extending the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which requires all California employers (including those with collective bargaining agreements) with 25 or more employees to provide paid supplemental sick leave to employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain COVID-19 related reasons. This leave is extended through December 31, 2021.

Reason for taking leave?

  • Caring for Yourself:  The covered employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 (see note below), or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Caring for a Family Member: The covered employee is caring for a family member who is either subject to a quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 (see note below) or has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19, or the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.  
  • Vaccine-Related: The covered employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms. This would include time off needed for testing.  If you are required to provide a test, we are still negotiating with the District to have them cover that cost. 

How much time off is covered?

  • 80 hours for full-time employees;  No additional hours are allocated by this extension.  
    • For those who return to campus and are exposed to or become ill as a result of workplace exposure, and if they had used all 80 hours, the District would put the individual on paid administrative leave.
  • Part-time and hourly, based upon the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over a two-week period.

Can an employer require certification from a health care provider before allowing a covered employee to take the leave?

  • No. The leave is not conditioned on medical certification. It may be reasonable in certain circumstances to ask for documentation before paying the sick leave when the employer has other information indicating that the covered employee is not requesting 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave for a valid purpose.

ACE Executive Board Authorizes Two Lawsuits Against District; CalPERS Lawsuit Update

The ACE Executive Board has authorized two lawsuits against the District. Two items of note:

  1. ACE and our attorneys do everything possible to work with the District to avoid taking a legal response.  The District chose to either not respond or flat our refused our request to bargain the issues. 
  2. Representation for these lawsuits is covered in the monthly stipend we pay our attorneys. We do not pay extra for their time, their research, their expertise.  The money allocated for the lawsuits covers filing fees, expert testimonies and anything not directly related representation.

Juneteenth 2021– The ACE Executive board authorized a lawsuit against the district to acknowledge Juneteenth 2021 as a national holiday and to compensate workers who worked on that day with holiday pay. This is an official request for holiday pay for classified employees represented by ACE, who were required to work on June 18, 2021, a national holiday as stated by President Biden by signing the enacting legislation on June 17, 2021. The board authorized up to $20,000 for this action.

Interest payment due to delay of implementation of the salary study – The ACE Executive Board authorized the filing of a lawsuit against the District for interest on the unpaid money owed to workers due to delay of implementation of the salary study.  They authorized $20,000, initially, to cover the costs of the suit. 

CalPERS lawsuit update – In March 2019, ACE filed a lawsuit against CalPERS regarding a temporary five-percent salary adjustment for the 2019-20 fiscal year and their denial that it would qualify as pensionable income for all members. CalSTRS, which follows the same pension reform rules, allowed the temporary five percent to be counted as pensionable income. PERS objected to the filing of the suit because there was never an administrative hearing prior to the filing of the lawsuit. After assuring the Court that ACE could have an administrative hearing the Court dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it couldn’t be filed again until there was a hearing. We finally have a date in late December for the administrative hearing.


ACE Elections

It takes active participation and commitment from all the members of a union to effectively protect and serve the membership as a whole. ACE officer elections are just around the corner and you should run for office. Have you thought about it?  Have you spent time thinking over the issues that affect you at work and how you would fix them?

Let me ask you this: do you have good ideas about how to make our association better?  Do you say to yourself, “why doesn’t ACE do something about ______?  Do you want to make a difference?

Too often people wait for someone else to create the change they want. Stop waiting. Running for office is scary.  You’re not sure what to do, how you’re going to add one more responsibility to your plate, and you’re worried you will make mistakes. It is understandable but holding an elected position can be one of the strongest ways to inspire others and create change within our organization.

As a member of the executive board, you’re not alone.  Decisions are made collectively and approved by the membership. Training, release time, and elective stipends are offered to officers to support the work they do for ACE. As an independent labor association, ACE decides what issues are important to us, how we spend our money, and, most importantly, how we represent our members. We might not always get it right and the path to change can, at times, be excruciatingly slow but the work we do always comes from a desire to help others. I’m not sure how that desire is ever a mistake, even when outcomes don’t match expectations.

A member is eligible to be a candidate if they are a non-probationary, permanent, classified employee in the District and is a member of ACE for one (1) full year.  The following positions are up for election.

  • President
  • Vice President – De Anza and Central Services (one at each location)
  • Chief Steward – Foothill
  • Board Members –  De Anza Seat 1 and Foothill (one at each location)
  • Negotiators – one from each location and three at large

For officers, terms are two years in length and run from January 1, 2022 through December 30, 2022.   All executive board members are required to:

  • Attend ACE board meetings held the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 1-2:30 p.m. Typically, they rotate between the two campuses but currently they are held online via Zoom as we work remotely.
  • Attend the site meeting for the campus they represent. At De Anza, these are held the 1st Tuesday of the month; At Foothill, these are held the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are from noon – 1 p.m.

For negotiations, term is three years in length and runs until the next contract is ratified by the membership.  All negotiators are required to:

  • Attend all of the planning and negotiating meetings, unless the absence is excused by the chair of the team or the majority of the team. Immediately upon the second unexcused absence they may be removed from the team.
  • The chair of negotiations must serve on the District Benefits Committee pertinent to negotiations. 
  • The negotiators choose a negotiations chair by secret ballot after a new team is elected.

All positions require subordination of personal interests to those that represent the highest good of the members.  No officer shall have greater rights than any other member of ACE.  A description of these elected position’s role and responsibilities is posted here

Nominations Accepted October 19 – 21

Elections held online November 2 – 4

So, what office are you running for in the upcoming election?


2021-2022 ACE Adopted Budget with Dues Forgiveness
June 30, 2020 and 2021 Fiscal Audit

2021-2022 Adopted Budget
As an independent labor association, we get to decide how we spend our dues or, if we do not need the money, not collect dues. At the August board meeting, the ACE Executive Board approved the 2021-2022 ACE operating budget and included two months of dues forgiveness for December 2021 and May 2022.  

ACE spends dues money on access to representation, the main reason we chose to be an independent union. It is the largest expense in our annual budget.  Several months a year, our legal representation itemizes their bill, and the work they do on our behalf often exceeds the flat monthly fee we pay them.  Other expenses include potential legal costs such as arbitration (ACE pays half), court filing fees and expert testimonies; accountants, insurance, financial audits and taxes; office supplies, web hosting and routine state fees for running a small business; and training for officers and stewards, food for site meetings and elective stipends for ACE officers.  We also have monies set aside for a strike fund and a 5% budget reserve.  We do not spend money collected from dues on political activities. 
Fiscal Audit for Years Ending June 30, 2020 and 2021
Prior to the supreme court decision Janus v. State in 2018, which eliminated service fee payers, every year we would conduct a fiscal audit to make certain the percentage of our chargeable expenses were greater than the fee collected from service fee payers (90 percent of member dues). Over the years, we consistently spent 93-94 percent of dues collection on chargeable expenses and nearly all activities were chargeable with the exception of board member trainings, food for site meetings and a small percentage of legal fees.

After Janus, absent any changes required by law we continued to conduct a fiscal audit with this same methodology for testing the accuracy and completeness of the information presented in our financial statements. This testing process enables an independent certified public accountant (CPA) to issue what is referred to as an opinion on how fairly our financial statements represent our financial position and whether we comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Due to the pandemic, we did a two-year audit for years ending June 30, 2020 and 2021. Since our last audit in 2019, the accounting rules have changed. The auditors now split expenses between program expenses, and management and general expenses. The former covers any expense which would be used to promote member benefits. The latter covers activities absolutely necessary based on the organizations structure rather than based on mission. This change moved previously chargeable expenses like accounting, audits, subscriptions, insurance, office supplies, etc. to management and general expenses. We are a not-for-profit corporation. While there is no standard percentage requirement for operating vs program expenses, the commonly accepted rule of thumb is 25 percent or less.

  •  For the year ending June 30, 2021 ACE spent 18 percent of revenue collected on management and general expenses.
  •  For the year ending June 30, 2020 ACE spent 22 percent of revenue collected on management and general expenses.

A copy of the audit is here.


Benefits Open Enrollment for 2022

Now through Oct. 15, 2021

  • During the Open Enrollment period, employees may enroll-in, change or cancel Health, Dental, Vision, FSA Health Care Account, FSA Dependent Care Account, FSA Transit, FSA Parking, or Voluntary Benefit Plans such as Supplemental Life Insurance, Buy-Up Long-Term Disability (LTD), MetLife Critical Illness, Group Accident and MetLaw Legal Plan. 
  • If you choose not to make any changes, your current benefit options will roll over, except for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).
  • Negotiated changes to the 2022 benefits can be found here.

For complete information, visit the District’s Open Enrollment for Plan Year 2022 web page. 


PGA Application Deadline 

Professional Growth Award (PGA) applications are due to the PGA committee by the 10th of the month. Now that we have returned to campus and employees have access to their offices, all applications must be submitted with supporting documentation to be considered for review.  

If you have questions about your application, please review it with a PGA committee member before you submit it.

PGA Members
Denise Perez, FH
Shawna Santiago, FH
Mary Medrano, DA
KIt Perales, DA
Kris Lestini, CS


PGA Changes: Replacement Hours for Old Awards, Updated Guidelines for New Awards

Changes to our Professional Growth Award (PGA) program in order to do two things:

  1. Help those with old PGA awards have more hours count towards pensionable income after CalPERS adjusted what they would accept; and
  2. Update the PGA application and guidelines to move many items currently allocated under section five to section one.

Background:
In June of 2019, with a large retiree exodus and a new account administrator at CalPERS, some of the activities allowed under PGA were called into question regarding their eligibility as pensionable income.  In fact, CalPERS made the determination that only hours earned in section one (college, adult education or trade school courses) met the definition for special compensation as defined by the California Code of Regulations, section 571:

Under topic #2, Educational Pay, where PGA is categorized:

“Educational Incentive is defined as compensation to employees for completing educational courses, certificates, and degrees which enhance their ability to do their job. A program or system must be in place to evaluate and approve acceptable courses. The cost of education that is required for the employee’s current job classification is not included in this item of special compensation”.

Your awards are still worth $90 each but for pensionable reporting purposes, CalPERS will prorate the percentage of an award to those hours attributed to section one.

To have more hours count as pensionable, we have agreed to the following changes to the PGA application and guidelines:

  1. Section one will be retitled as Certificate, Course, or Degree
    1. Section 1a will cover accredited courses and continuing education units (CEU).  We have removed the minimum hours required to use this section. 
    2. Section 1b is new and will cover many job-related certificated skills training previously listed under section five.
    3. There is no maximum for either of these activities and you are allowed to carry these hours forward to future awards.
  2. Section five will be retitled as Job-Related Conference, Seminar, or Lecture. Participation in job-related special activities, such as seminars, conferences, conventions, institutes, and lectures offered by colleges, adult schools, professional associations, and community organizations. 

For previously earned awards only:

We had already negotiated additional funding  ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to them to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable.  In addition, to help have more hours count we negotiated the following:

  1. Suspended the limit of 200 hours while on Staff Development Leave.  You may submit hours for courses taken during past staff development leaves that were not counted due to the 200 hours limit. Official transcripts are required.
  2. Allow courses omitted from any previous PGA application.  Submit hours for any course not submitted in previous professional growth award applications. Reminder, you must have been a district employee at the time the course was taken. Official transcripts are required.
  3. Allow courses not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the District.  You may submit hours for classes taken that were not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the district. Official transcripts are required.
  4. Job-Related certificated training.  You may submit hours for previously completed job-related activities/training where certification was provided. This refers to items previously reported in section five “Job Related Special Activities” in prior awards. Please provide copies of previous PGA applications with section five applicable items highlighted. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions. 
  5. New Job-Related Certificated training.  You may submit hours for new job-related activities/training where certification was provided. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions. Certificates/transcripts are required.
  6. Apply any carryover hours from section one.  If you have carryover hours in section one, you may apply them to any previous award where replacement hours are needed.

For these previously earned awards, the review and application process is effective immediately and will continue through June 30, 2022. Current employees must submit the completed application, hours audit, and applicable documentation by the deadline in order to request a review of hours for the PGA substitution process. Applications submitted after June 30, 2022, will be deemed late and will not be processed.

To review your previous award(s) information:

  1. Please send an email to whitechris@fhda.edu.  Be sure to include your CWID.
  2. This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No backup material will be provided.  This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one and applicable hours under section five to estimate how many of your completed PGA’s are eligible as pensionable income per CalPERS. 200 hours of credit equals one award. For example, if you’ve completed eight awards but only have 1,000 hours in section one, CalPERS will credit five awards as pensionable (5 x 200 = 1,000 hours).
  3. Turn around time to receive the request for information is approximately three weeks.  To not overburden an already short-staffed human resources department.  Your patience is appreciated.

For new PGA awards:
The application and guidelines have been updated to reflect the following changes:

  1. Job-Related certificated training. These hours will now be listed under section 1b.
  2. All rules under PGA guidelines apply to new awards. The suspension of rules for previously earned PGAs does not apply to new awards. 

Reminder:

  1. PGA is publicly funded.  As public pensions and CalPERS continue to be scrutinized by the public it is imperative that the activities we submit as special compensation follow the rules set by CalPERS.  The burden of verifying the eligibility is on the District before the income will be reported as pensionable. We do not want to provide cause for a CalPERS audit by reporting income as pensionable which does not meet their definition for educational pay.
  2. The authority to accept or deny an activity, along with which section of the PGA application it is attributed, is at the discretion of the PGA Review Panel. These are your colleagues who are donating their time to administer this program and who have consistently demonstrated they will do all they can to have hours count towards an award.  You may not always like their answer. Be kind.
  3. PGA Review Panel:  Kris Lestini, Mary Medrano, Kit Perales, Denise Perez, Shawna Santiago

ACE Update 11.02.2020: Opportunities; PGA – Replacement Hours & Updated Guidelines; Staff Development Leave Application Due 12/15; Upcoming Workshops

President’s Message

Opportunities

Election Day!  Make no mistake, several races and state initiative have squarely put public education on the ballot.  If you haven’t voted yet, the polls are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Same-day voter registration is available. Follow the links for election/voting information for the following counties: Alameda CountyContra Costa CountySan Benito CountySanta Clara County, Santa Cruz County, San Mateo County, and San Francisco County.  Your vote is your voice.

We wrapped up ACE Officer elections last week (see below for results) and I wanted to take a moment to say congratulations to newly elected officers.  With a mix of new and seasoned representatives, each one of them brings something unique to the table and I look forward to working with each of them. To those who ran for office and to those who voted, thank you.

In other news, the colleges and central services have forwarded to Chancellor Miner and the Board of Trustees their one-time collateral funds to address the district’s potential nine million dollar shortfall for 2020-21  I said it last month and I’ll say it again, the amount is a place holder.  Senior administration has indicated their priority will be to use one-time funds to meet this budget shortfall, and Chancellor Miner has affirmed there will be no layoffs for this year, but until we see the governor’s draft budget issued in late January, we won’t really know what we need to address in 2020-2021 or moving forward into 2021-2022.  To be clear, the loss of 3200 full-time equivalent students (FTES) over the past three years will need to be reconciled when hold-harmless funding from the state – extended through 2023-2024 – runs out. I’m going to reiterate my plea from last month that you show up, and speak up, at participatory governance meetings over the rest of this academic year so our college communities have a better understanding of the critical work classified professionals do.

Meanwhile, this is a good time to remind you to take advantage of negotiated benefits like professional growth awards (PGA) and staff development leave (SDL). They not only add money to your wallet – nearly $13,000 in additional salary through PGA – but they provide opportunities for professional growth not afforded to most classified professionals at other institutions. We just finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the District changing the PGA application (see below) to have more hours be CalPERS pensionable.  As one out of six districts that offer SDL, it is an excellent opportunity for professional growth not easily undertaken when you’re working full-time.  SDL applications are due December 15.

Workshops for PGA, educational assistance, and staff development leave will be offered over the next week to help you take full advantage of these opportunities. The Professional Development Office at De Anza, the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education at De Anza, and the Vision Resource Center through the State Chancellor’s Office are great resources for additional training directly related to community colleges.  Many of these workshops are eligible for PGA.

In solidarity,

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office

“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes.  It is always about people”. – César Chávez


Upcoming Workshops

ACE Profession Growth Award (PGA) & Educational Assistance
This workshop covers how to get started with Professional Growth Awards (PGA), educational assistance, travel and conference funds, and SDL.

Thursday, Nov. 5 from 1:30 – 2:30 PM – Zoom invite sent via email.


Staff Development Leave (SDL)
This workshop is designed for staff ready to apply for SDL.

Tuesday, Nov.10 from 11 AM to noon. – Zoom invite sent via email.


New ACE Officers


Thank you to everyone who participated in the election process. It is worth repeating, our labor association only works due to the willing participation of the membership.

Elections results below. These officers’ term run from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2022.

Treasurer: Kathy Nguyen
Recorder: Shawna Santiago
Vice President, Foothill: Phuong Tran
Chief Steward, Central Services: Anthony Caceres
Chief Steward, De Anza: Erika Flores
Board Member Central Services: Bill Baldwin
Board Member/Seat 2 De Anza:  Angelica Esquivel


PGA Changes: Replacement Hours for Old Awards, Updated Guidelines for New Awards

Last night, the board of trustees approved changes to our Professional Growth Award (PGA) program in order to do two things:

  1. Help those with old PGA awards have more hours count towards pensionable income after CalPERS adjusted what they would accept; and
  2. Update the PGA application and guidelines to move many items currently allocated under section five to section one.

Background:
In June of 2019, with a large retiree exodus and a new account administrator at CalPERS, some of the activities allowed under PGA were called into question regarding their eligibility as pensionable income.  In fact, CalPERS made the determination that only hours earned in section one (college, adult education or trade school courses) met the definition for special compensation as defined by the California Code of Regulations, section 571:

Under topic #2, Educational Pay, where PGA is categorized:

“Educational Incentive is defined as compensation to employees for completing educational courses, certificates, and degrees which enhance their ability to do their job. A program or system must be in place to evaluate and approve acceptable courses. The cost of education that is required for the employee’s current job classification is not included in this item of special compensation”.

Your awards are still worth $90 each but for pensionable reporting purposes, CalPERS will prorate the percentage of an award to those hours attributed to section one.

To have more hours count as pensionable, we have agreed to the following changes to the PGA application and guidelines:

  1. Section one will be retitled as Certificate, Course, or Degree
    1. Section 1a will cover accredited courses and continuing education units (CEU).  We have removed the minimum hours required to use this section. 
    2. Section 1b is new and will cover many job-related certificated skills training previously listed under section five.
    3. There is no maximum for either of these activities and you are allowed to carry these hours forward to future awards.
  2. Section five will be retitled as Job-Related Conference, Seminar, or Lecture. Participation in job-related special activities, such as seminars, conferences, conventions, institutes, and lectures offered by colleges, adult schools, professional associations, and community organizations. 

For previously earned awards only:

We had already negotiated additional funding  ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to them to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable.  In addition, to help have more hours count we negotiated the following:

  1. Suspended the limit of 200 hours while on Staff Development Leave.  You may submit hours for courses taken during past staff development leaves that were not counted due to the 200 hours limit. Official transcripts are required.
  2. Allow courses omitted from any previous PGA application.  Submit hours for any course not submitted in previous professional growth award applications. Reminder, you must have been a district employee at the time the course was taken. Official transcripts are required.
  3. Allow courses not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the District.  You may submit hours for classes taken that were not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the district. Official transcripts are required.
  4. Job-Related certificated training.  You may submit hours for previously completed job-related activities/training where certification was provided. This refers to items previously reported in section five “Job Related Special Activities” in prior awards. Please provide copies of previous PGA applications with section five applicable items highlighted. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions. 
  5. New Job-Related Certificated training.  You may submit hours for new job-related activities/training where certification was provided. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions. Certificates/transcripts are required.
  6. Apply any carryover hours from section one.  If you have carryover hours in section one, you may apply them to any previous award where replacement hours are needed.

For these previously earned awards, the review and application process is effective immediately and will continue through June 30, 2022. Current employees must submit the completed application, hours audit, and applicable documentation by the deadline in order to request a review of hours for the PGA substitution process. Applications submitted after June 30, 2022, will be deemed late and will not be processed.

To review your previous award(s) information:

  1. Please send an email to whitechris@fhda.edu.  Be sure to include your CWID.
  2. This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No backup material will be provided.  This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one and applicable hours under section five to estimate how many of your completed PGA’s are eligible as pensionable income per CalPERS. 200 hours of credit equals one award. For example, if you’ve completed eight awards but only have 1,000 hours in section one, CalPERS will credit five awards as pensionable (5 x 200 = 1,000 hours).
  3. Turn around time to receive the request for information is approximately three weeks.  To not overburden an already short-staffed human resources department.  Your patience is appreciated.

For new PGA awards:
The application and guidelines have been updated to reflect the following changes:

  1. Job-Related certificated training. These hours will now be listed under section 1b.
  2. All rules under PGA guidelines apply to new awards. The suspension of rules for previously earned PGAs does not apply to new awards. 

Reminder:

  1. PGA is publicly funded.  As public pensions and CalPERS continue to be scrutinized by the public it is imperative that the activities we submit as special compensation follow the rules set by CalPERS.  The burden of verifying the eligibility is on the District before the income will be reported as pensionable. We do not want to provide cause for a CalPERS audit by reporting income as pensionable which does not meet their definition for educational pay.
  2. The authority to accept or deny an activity, along with which section of the PGA application it is attributed, is at the discretion of the PGA Review Panel. These are your colleagues who are donating their time to administer this program and who have consistently demonstrated they will do all they can to have hours count towards an award.  You may not always like their answer. Be kind.
  3. PGA Review Panel:  Kris Lestini, Mary Medrano, Kit Perales, Denise Perez, Shawna Santiago

2021-2022 Staff Development Leave Workshop – Applications Due 12/15


Staff Development Leave (SDL) applications for the 2021-22 academic year are due December 15, 2020.
A workshop to answer application questions will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Nov. 10 via Zoom.

We’re In A Budget Crisis, Why Are We Approving SDLs?
Funds designated for SDL are part of our negotiated Agreement and whether we use them or not won’t change the number of reductions the District needs to meet to balance its budget.

How Common Is Staff Development Leave for Classified Staff?
Out of the 72 community college districts in California representing 114 community colleges, very few offer staff development leave for classified staff. SDL is a negotiated benefit for FHDA classified staff, and while a few other institutions offer SDL, none are as extensive as ours.

 Institution Paid Benefit Leave Length Eligibility
 FHDA 85% of full pay Up to 10 mo.7  yr. of service
 Los Rios CCD
American River, Folsom Lake,
Sac City, Consumnes River
  85% of pay Up to 5 mo. 7 yr. of service
 State Center CCD
Fresno, Reedley, Clovis
  50% of pay Up to 1 yr. 5 yr. of service
 North Orange CCD
Cypress, Fullerton
 100% of pay Up to 240 hours
(1 mo.)
 6 yr. of service
 Kern CCD
Bakersfield, Porterville
 60% of pay
 90% of pay
 Up to 1 yr.
Up to 6 mo.
 7 yr. of service
3 yr. of service
 Merced College 50% of pay or the difference in pay
 between worker on leave and a substitute
 employee
 Up to 1 yr. 7 yr. of service

SDL Quick Overview

  • Up to 10 months paid time off at 85% of full pay.
  • To be eligible, you must have completed seven (7) years of service to the District.
  • Applications are due December 15 of the fiscal year preceding the leave.
  • The leave may be used to complete interrupted studies, learn by observing methods used in industry or other educational institutions, or get a substantial start on a goal of better education.
  • During the leave, the worker will be entitled to all the benefits of classified contract workers except that only 85% of service time will be credited by the Public Employees Retirement System.
  • During the leave, the worker shall earn 85% of the normal credit for sick leave and seniorityNo vacation credit shall be earned during SDL.
  • Travel and conference funds and educational assistance are available during the leave. Courses paid through educational assistance cannot be used to qualify for a Professional Growth Award (PGA).
  • Classified hourly is not eligible for SDL.
  • Funding for a minimum of ten (10) SDL leaves are granted annually.

The Application

  • Applications for the succeeding college year must be received by the Director of Human Resources before December 15.
  • Unit members may submit a copy of their request for leave without appropriate signatures by December 15; however, all signatures must be received by January 31.
  • The written application must present a detailed description of the proposed activities of the leave and the potential value of these activities to the District as well as the learning outcomes that are expected from this leave.
  • If the worker intends to enroll in school, the application must identify the educational institution to be attended and, by academic term, a list of courses (with course descriptions) the worker will be taking.
  • The application shall contain precise dates for the beginning and end of the leave.
  • If a member is attending school full time, which is 12 units either semester or quarter for undergrad and 8 units, semester or quarter, for graduate, then the member does not have to participate in other activities related to the leave.
  • If the unit member is not going to school full-time, other activities related to the leave must be completed in fulfilling the 12-unit minimum. For this purpose, one hour of activity per week equals one unit and so forth.
  • Any changes to the leave must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources who will consult with the Staff Development Leave Committee, to approve such changes prior to the unit member participation in those changes.

Staff Development Committee

  • This Committee shall be composed of two representatives of ACE, two representatives of CSEA, and two administrators designated by the Chancellor, one of whom will serve as chairman. For ACE, this is Karen Smith at Foothill and Chris White with ACE.
  • Each application that has been submitted and has received the recommendation of the immediate supervisor and the appropriate administrator shall be forwarded to the Classified Staff Development Leave Committee for review and recommendation to the Chancellor.
  • FHDA Board-approved leaves will be announced by March 1 of each year.

Returning From Staff Development Leave

  • If a leave is granted, the worker must agree in writing to render, upon return from leave, a minimum of two months of service to the District for each month of staff development leave.
  • Failure to render this service will require the worker to refund the salary paid by the District during the leave.
  • Within thirty days of return from leave, the worker shall submit a written report to the Classified Staff Development Leave Committee of the activities of the leave, emphasizing the value to the District and the learning outcomes achieved.
  • If the worker attended school during the leave, he or she shall also submit a transcript or other appropriate documentation showing satisfactory attendance and successful completion of the course work as soon as reasonably possible.