Trustees and public show disapproval for Dubost’s COLA increase
PASO ROBLES — A cost of living adjustment was approved by trustees for Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent Curt Dubost during the Tuesday night meeting on April 25.
Dubost previously declined a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the 2022-23 school year until negotiations had been settled with the districts bargaining groups, and all employees had been paid. During the Dec. 13, 2022, meeting, trustees approved separate agreements with the Paso Robles Public Educators (PRPE) and District Management. Then on Feb. 28, 2023, the Board of Trustees approved the agreement with California School Employees Association, Chapter #254. These agreements are what bring forward approval for Dubost’s 10 percent compensation increase.
However, that approval did not come easy on Tuesday night. Two public commenters disagreed with the COLA increase, and trustees Dorian Baker and Laurene McCoy also opposed the raise.
“He needs to earn it through merit, not equity,” said Paso Robles resident Berkley Baker of Dubost’s wage increase.
Baker reasoned his position, saying the student scoring throughout the district is too low, teachers and administrators are not supported, and the “working conditions are dreadful.”
Paso Robles resident Michael Rivera echoed Baker in not agreeing with the COLA increase for Dubost.
Trustee Sondra Williams expressed her support for Dubost: “Dr. Dubost led us through some of the most trialing times that Paso Robles has ever seen. To full responsibility during a pandemic, during times of social injustice, during a climate in our community that he could have easily walked away from … I think it is a bad message to send not to do this.”
Trustees Baker and McCoy expressed frustrations with the COLA contract not being added as an attachment to the agenda for additional review. Trustee Nathan Williams combated their complaints, saying the contract and affiliated documents could have been requested. Dubost interjected, adding the documents, approved by the previous Board of Trustees, were not intentionally held.
“It’s not, in my opinion, a good look for a superintendent to have an automatic ‘me too’ with the bargaining units as it appears to be a conflict of interest,” said Dorian Baker of why she disagreed with the COLA increase for Dubost.
In the end, the COLA increase for Dubost was approved with a 3-2 vote, with Dorian and McCoy voting no. Trustee Joel Peterson was absent from the meeting.