Salaries, Stipends, and Benefits

CUSD hires the best and can afford competitive pay to continue to attract and retain the quality staff our students’ deserve..

One of Clovis Unified School District’s founding principles was that “we’re too poor to buy cheap,” and for the early part of the district’s history, this was reflected in educator salaries that were more-or-less competitive across the Central Valley. They recognized that in order to hire the best teachers for our students, you have to offer a competitive salary. More recently, our administration has shown us what inevitably happens when we give away our right to collectively bargain with the employer – the employer finds that keeping our pay low is an easy way to balance their budget. This isn’t unique to Clovis: On average, employers across the country pay non-union educators 20% less than union educators (see national data).

We became educators because we’re passionate about education, not to get rich – but in Clovis, our salaries have been historically lower than in neighboring districts. This means that paying the bills and supporting our families is more of a struggle when we choose to teach in Clovis.

The reason for this is that educators in Clovis cannot negotiate their salaries. Decisions about salaries have been made behind closed doors with everyone in the room being required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA. ACE knows that educators should have access to the information related to our salaries and should be able to discuss it with each other. We demanded that the district end the NDAs – and they did.

Because of those NDAs – and because we do not have access to our own experts and information sources, we have not been fully informed about our salaries and could only rely on information from district admin. Clovis district has claimed for years, for example, that we can’t afford to pay educators a competitive wage because we get less funding than other districts. While it is true that Clovis does get less funding per pupil than neighboring districts, the truth is that it is not connected to their ability to pay a competitive salary:

  1. Similarly funded districts have also paid their employees more than Clovis. (See a chart here and the data here for like-funded, similarly sized districts for 2021/22.)
  2. The additional funding that our neighboring school districts receive is to provide additional programs to support their struggling students – not to pay staff more, but to pay more staff.
  3. CUSD clearly has more resources available to pay educators as evidenced by their ability to put an average of 10 million into reserves each year for the past several years. (see a chart here)

Low wages have more than just an impact on educators’ quality of life, they also impact the classroom and the students (study). When highly qualified educational professionals consider the available salary when they’re deciding where to work. Qualified educators will know that they can earn more to support their families working in other districts. Certainly, there is value in working in Clovis with the community and students we love, but we also have to pay the costs of living in this district and support our families.

Achieving a fair and competitive salary schedule is best accomplished through forming a strong, independent union where educators can have a real seat at the table, receive and understand the information, and reach a consensus across the district instead of a captive few.


School districts’ data are made public online:

Related FAQs

Will we lose current benefits, like Micare, by Unionizing?

​No. The best way to protect what currently works in Clovis is to unionize. Once we are union, changes can’t be made without negotiating with us. If we want to protect—or even improve our benefits—we can prioritize that in negotiations. The reality is that, right now, administration can make unilateral decisions about changes. Once we are union Clovis educators will be a key part of the decision-making process.