Psychs & MHSPs

Providing better support for Clovis students

CUSD School Psychologists and MHSPs saw an urgent need to provide better support for Clovis students facing unprecedented mental health and special education needs. They also saw a lack of Psychologist’s voice in the decisions made about their important work. In February of 2022, they voted to be recognized as a bargaining unit of ACE/CTA and became the first unionized certificated educators in CUSD history.

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Bargaining Team

The first bargaining team includes Rachel Allen, Scott Berglund, Jade Edwards, Ryan Elison, Cy Hiyane, Amy Kilburn, Trish Orr, and Bernadette Rodarte.

Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)

Bargaining History

The ACE bargaining team began negotiations with the CUSD senior administration in the spring of 2022. They met with the district in over 30 separate sessions that were three to four hours long each.

The Psychologists and MHSPs also frequently met with each other to discuss the topics, share ideas, and decide together what was most important. The bargaining team sent out numerous surveys and talked with the Psychologists and MHSPs one-on-one and in small groups. The contract would apply to everyone and it was important that everyone was involved in the conversation.

The negotiation process with the district was sometimes contentious, but it allowed the School Psychologists and MHSPs to have a real voice in their work for the first time. They proposed the language that they knew would allow them to best support students and that would attract new, highly qualified Psychologists to the district. At times the district’s behavior wasn’t conducive to reaching an agreement. The bargaining team filed formal complaints against the district for their actions through the Public Employee Relations Board.

Despite the challenges, the bargaining team pushed on. The parties exchanged proposed drafts of each article and explained the reasoning and importance of each term, one by one. By the end, they had written a contract from scratch. It included 19 articles, two job descriptions, staffing policies, evaluation forms, and two years of salary schedules.

Key Solutions in the Initial CBA

  • Staffing
    The contract provides a minimum staffing level for every school that gives more time for school psychologists to spend with students to address their needs.
  • Wages
    More competitive wages will help attract and retain high-quality School Psychologists and MHSPs to Clovis. The salary schedules will increase for all school psychologists by 13.75% in the first year and 5.5% in the second year. In the third year, the wages will be re-negotiated.
  • Assignments and transfers
    A more open and transparent process for Psychologist/MHSP assignments will help everyone understand and participate in the decision of who goes where. Giving the Psychologists and MHSPs the right to be part of that decision means more Psychs are assigned where they want to be.
  • Evaluations
    An evaluation process built on professional standards and developed by the Psychologists and MHSPs themselves means that the feedback, direction, and corrections they receive will guide them toward being more prepared to support students to thrive in the educational environment.
  • And many more!

CBA 101

What a CBA is

  • A Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) — sometimes just called a “contract” — is, for starters, a written document that we can all read and access. We won’t have mystery policies or practices that we can’t find in writing.
  • A CBA is also a legally binding agreement between the employer (CUSD) and the employees (ACE). It provides collective and individual rights that can be legally enforced through the grievance process and other actions. It can only be changed through re-negotiation which requires a majority approval vote of the membership. No more policy changes without our involvement.
  • All of us are equal under a Collective Bargaining Agreement. It doesn’t matter who you are or who you know – the contract applies equally to everyone. Unfair treatment, such as favoritism or bullying, isn’t allowed under a CBA.

What a CBA isn’t

  • A CBA isn’t perfect – there may be ways that an administrator can find a way around our agreement to do the wrong thing. This is primarily a problem with the administrator and not the agreement – but the CBA is a living document that can change every time we re-negotiate it. We will continue to work on making the CBA work better for us and for students.
  • A CBA isn’t a replacement for management – local and district administrators are still responsible for running the schools under the terms of the agreement.
  • A CBA doesn’t enforce itself. We have to be the ones who make sure the district follows the CBA and take the appropriate steps when it isn’t. Union membership, labor laws, our union, and our CBA give us extra protections when we stand up – but it doesn’t happen without us making it happen.

Next Steps

  1. Union Membership

    Pyschologists and MHSPs are signing up to be members of ACE/CTA. Why become a union member?

    • Strength in Numbers!
      The more members we have in our bargaining unit, the stronger our voice is in achieving the things that are important to all of us and our students.
    • Each voice is important!
      As union members, we come together to make decisions that impact our work. We’re stronger when every voice is part of the conversation. As a member you get to vote on the bylaws, representatives, and officers as well as the ratification of a bargaining agreement.
    • Standing together!
      It’s not just you who benefits from your union membership, it’s all other school psychologists and MHSPs who work alongside you. When their work is more reasonable, sustainable, and rewarding, so is yours.
    • Leadership and representation!
      When you’re a union member you can run for the many positions within our Association, such as Rep Council, Executive Board, Bargaining Team, and Unit and Association Officers; and regional and statewide positions such as CTA State Council Representative, Service Center Officers, NEA delegates, and many more. The more we participate, the more our perspectives are empowered.
  2. Union Benefits

    Union membership has other benefits – 310,000 educators around the state have created packages and products customized exclusively for educator needs and scaled up for efficiency. Learn more at

    • Legal Services
      Whether you’re facing legal issues in the workplace or in your personal life, you have access to legal support
    • Liability Insurance
      $1,000,000 of legal liability insurance
    • Free life insurance
    • Travel, vacation, and other discounts
    • Educator-specific home and auto insurance
    • Educator-specific disability insurance
  3. Future Bargaining

    The agreement ratified by ACE and CUSD will last three school years: 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25. In the 2023-24 school year, the parties will return to the table for a re-opener, which allows them to negotiate over salaries and a limited number of other articles for the 2024-25 school year.

    The ACE Psychologists and MHSPs will select a new bargaining team for each subsequent year.