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CUSD Set to Pay More for Teacher Health Insurance

A revision to the existing contract would cover the price hikes in HMO policies and half the increases to point-of-service coverage. If state budget cuts kick in, both parties would renegotiate.

The will pick up most of the increased cost of health-insurance premiums for teachers in a revised contract being considered Monday.

After striking in April 2010, the teachers' union agreed to a contract good through June 2012. But the union and district both had the ability to reopen two features of the agreement for negotiation.

The two sides have met six times since May to discuss class size, wages and health and welfare benefits.

“The estimated $329,270 cost to increase premium contributions spans two fiscal years,” the staff report states. “The estimated cost for 2011-2012 is $164,635.” Most of that, $124,003, would come from the general fund.

The district is vowing to pick up the full difference in hiked HMO premiums and half the increased costs for a point-of-service plan for 2012, according to a staff report. The district expects the migration to less-expensive HMO plans, such as Kaiser Permanente, to offset some of the costs.

In addition, both sides have agreed to reopen negotiations if the state “” on mid-year state budget cuts that kick in if tax revenues fall short. So far this year, the state is $1.5 billion behind, reports the Sacramento Bee.

“If mid-year cuts are made to K-12 education, the parties agree to negotiate, commencing January 2012, additional cost-saving measures with a focus on wage adjustment and temporary work-year reductions and class-size adjustments,” according to the tentative agreement the district struck with the teachers’ union on Oct. 27.

The post-strike agreement cut teachers’ salaries by 10.1 percent through June 2012, but the school board reinstated a , reducing the pay cut to 6.49 percent. That cut saves $10.5 million over the previous contract, according to the staff report.

The partial restoration of teacher salaries, announced in early February, cost the district $4.6 million.

The board has a packed agenda Monday. Trustees are also scheduled to:

  • Hire lawyers to represent the district before the Internal Revenue Service, which is CAPO took out in 2009. 
  • Decide the criteria for .  Starting with the Nov. 6, 2012 election, school board trustees will no longer be elected at-large. The district’s consultant recommends trustee voting districts be roughly equal in population, “respect communities of interest,” follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features, and take into consideration the boundaries of other jurisdictions such as cities.  
  • Hear an update on the district’s , set to start next year. A fee-based preschool is planned to launch in February. The staff intends to open enrollment early – in December –  so interested families can help raise money for the program, which was approved on the condition that it not drain district finances.
  • Receive a report about how the district is faring academically. The 2011 “accountability progress report” shows CUSD as the highest-scoring among large school districts in the state and fourth overall in the county. and students with disabilities still continue to struggle.
  • Consider a new policy on student conduct that targets bullying and cyber-bullying. The policy defines what bullying is and outlines the procedure to investigate and correct it with discipline, up to and including expulsion and notifying law enforcement.
  • Get an update on the district’s efforts to build a compressed natural-gas fueling station in Aliso Viejo. Currently, school buses travel to Irvine to fill up. The project was initially opposed by neighbor Temple Beth El, but after meeting with city officials in September and October to review Capo’s risk-assessment study of the project, the temple is supporting the project. The city of Aliso Viejo will consider the project at its Dec. 7 meeting.
Pam Sunderman November 16, 2011 at 08:42 PM
So as the financial news get worse, it sounds like you are expecting teachers to absorb the brunt of the cuts. At what point will this become EVERYONE'S responsibility? Schools serve everyone and everyone benefits from good schools. CUSD provides good schools to everyone in the attendance area. But your view seems to be that you are unwilling to pay more. You pay more for gas. You pay more for health costs. You pay more for goods and services. But you expect only teachers to pay more for your child's education?
shelly November 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Capo parent, CUSD did not give any money to anyone. The teachers earned their money. CUSD is honoring a legal contract signed by the former board. Because the former board imposed a contract and refused to negotiate they caused a strike which caused an "addendum" to the imposed contract. If the former board would have negotiated the cut then there would not have been any trigger language in the contract. The teachers would have accepted a 10% cut which was recommended by the fact finder and once the contract ran its 2 year course the teachers and the district would have been back where they were at the beginning and then negotiating based on the economic situation of the day. Teachers did not cause the state of the state or the union. We all did and we still do by not opening our eyes and getting to the root of what caused our economy to fail. Teachers do not have the money that is out of circulation from our economy. Teachers are also not the sole people responsible to fix the deficit in the education budget. Our taxes don't cover education so if we want the same services we need to pay more or someone needs to pay their fair share. Sorry that is the reality.
Capo Parent November 17, 2011 at 01:48 AM
jollygirl If there was any expectation of the unions and its members sharing in the pain with the public, the current board has made it clear it favors the unions over the public. The public has suffered cuts and losses that teachers haven't come close to experiencing. As for your claim that schools serve everyone, that is very simplistic and overreaching statement that is more BS. If the public "benefits" from schools than it is likewise burdend by "poor" schools. As for your claim CUSD provides good schools to everyone, that's total BS. Not every school in CUSD is good. As for paying more for gas and health care, you're right I do, but you forget that I can choose between several providers for those goods and services. I don't have a choice when it comes to public education. Me thinks you having unwittingly made the point for vouchers. I would like you to justify, if you can, CUSD paying $30,000 to consultant to teach the unions how to negotiate "better." I can't wait for your reply.
Pam Sunderman November 17, 2011 at 06:07 AM
Actually you do have a choice. You are free to enroll your child in any public school that has room. You may even apply to enroll your child in a neighboring district and you will be accepted if they have room. There are charter schools that you may also choose for your child. Every school in CUSD is a good school. Not every school has identical test scores but we all know that test scores are not a single measure of what makes a good school. I really don't have any information on which to base an opinion of whether the $30,000 expenditure you mention is a justifiable expenditure. I do think that monies have been spent on hiring lawyers that could have been better spent. The current board seems to be working hard to find solutions to the financial challenges...and that includes working with the teachers. This seems a better method than the adversarial methods of the past. Why wouldn't you want all of the stakeholders to be working together? As for sharing the pain...teachers have certainly done so. And they have indicated a willingness to continue to do so. They worry about their families, make adjustments to personal financial circumstances, and continue to do their jobs every day...just like everyone else in these challenging economical times. It is time to let go of the union bashing and teacher bashing. It is unproductive and unwarranted.
shelly November 17, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Capo Parent, Please tell us which are the "poor" schools in CUSD?

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