Key legislation passed through the California Assembly in June, advancing to the State Senate for consideration later this summer. 

AB 938 increases base funding under the Local Control Funding Formula by 50% to support a 50% raise in TK-12 salaries. The Assembly passed the CFT-sponsored bill by a unanimous 77-0 vote.

AB 1699 prohibits school districts from retaliating against classified staff for refusing or accepting a vacancy. The bill gives employees at least 10 days to apply for a position before the job opens to the public.

AB 938: Raise school salaries 50% by 2030

Salaries in education are sagging, ratcheting up the stress level for faculty and classified employees, and aggravating a staffing shortage at all levels. CFT President Jeff Freitas discussed the crisis with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D–Torrance), the new chairman of the Assembly Education Committee.

“We went with an idea to address the shortage, and he agreed,” Freitas said.

“We’re aware of the crisis,” Muratsuchi said. “Numerous studies have found that young people don’t become teachers because of pay.”

The result was AB 938, which the State Assembly passed with a lopsided 77-0 vote.

The bill raises salaries for teachers and classified staff across the state by 50% over the next seven years, paying for it with a 50% increase in base funding under the Local Control Funding Formula. Raising salaries from early education through high school is the explicit driver of multiyear increases in funding.

A 2022 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that the gap between wages of teachers and other professions with similar education and certification requirements grew to 17.6% in California and 23.5% nationwide in 2021.

The bill doesn’t dictate the size of annual raises for employees in every district. That will remain subject to local bargaining and school boards, although AB 938 would clearly give unions greater leverage in negotiations.

“We’ll be working with our unions to move forward together,” Freitas said. “If districts ignore what is provided by the state for employees, what’s left is going on strike.”

AB 1699: Right of First Refusal for Employees

The bill sponsored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D–Sacramento) prohibits retaliation against classified staff for refusing or accepting a vacancy. AB 1699 applies to school and community college districts, county offices of education and joint powers authorities, regardless of whether an employer has adopted the merit system.

Employers must notify all qualified staff about a new classified position – as well as instructions for applying – at least 10 business days before the job is open to the public.

AB 1699 authorizes employees who accept a new assignment to add the new hours to their current assignment, or replace their current assignment with the new one if it is more hours. An employer may also modify assignment schedules so the employee could work both assignments. 

Employers must accept a current part-time employee’s years of service with the employer, regardless of how they were earned, when that employee applies for an additional part-time assignment that requires a certain number of years of service.

Classified employees whose part-time assignments equal the hours of a full-time assignment for the same employer must receive the same benefits as full-time staff.

AB 1699 prohibits applicants from being offered a vacancy if the total hours of the two positions would violate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or another state or federal law.

— By Steve Weingarten, CFT Reporter