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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.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Jim Reardon, Why does it only fall on CUEA and not the employer, (us)?
shelly November 15, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Jim Reardon, The trustees are our representatives. We, the people voted for them and they represent us. There are 4 trustees from the former board who chose not to negotiate but impose a contract and 3 trustees that were elected last year.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Justin Marr, I am a parent not a teacher and I am happy that these teachers have jobs because it benefits children and our society. I am sorry you are so angry about it but no one is complaining about pay cuts here. Please read the article and the comments. If you read the article you will see that the teachers are open to renegotiation if the money coming to the district diminishes. The teachers of CUSD have been producing the results and they, well, in fact no ones, deserves to be ordered around by their employer (taxpayers) telling them to go to work and keep quiet. This may be the way other countries treat their workers but this is America and we all have the right to free speech and collective bargaining. Or is it your opinion that teachers do not have these rights? And we also live in one of the highest cost of living areas in the nation so the salaries of teachers fall in the middle compared to other places when you do the math.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Jim Reardon, Shouldn't we, in CUSD, be trying to wind this "clock".
Justin Marr November 15, 2011 at 01:38 AM
Actually collective bargaining rights were originally intended to protect the private sector worker. Now that they have found their way into the public sector we are actually bargaining against ourselves, the people that pay the public sector salaries. The TAXPAYER! Now then if we were to consider paying salary based upon job performance as it is in the private sector where would we be with these salaries? Well, based solely upon national test scores of our students here in California locally and otherwise, the correct salary would be oh, I guess equivalent to somewhere in the Midwest! So thats part of the issue here, we live here not just because we love California but to educate our children to compete anywhere in the world, with anyone in the world. Collectively in California our teachers are not giving us that but we continue to give them one of the HIGHEST salaries in the nation without the results we paid for. So stick up for the unions rights all you would like and watch future teachers suffer as they most certainly will due to the greed of todays unions and teachers because the money is already gone and everybody just ignores it. Also please clarify you last comment as somewhere in the middle it becomes unintelligible.
Greg November 15, 2011 at 01:44 AM
That about sums it up!!!
shelly November 15, 2011 at 03:00 AM
"California, the eighth richest state, spends 3.8 percent of per capita income on education, making it the 46th in that category of spending ranking." PBS News Hour "Orange County teachers, were they to be judged in raw salary dollars against all the states in the nation, would rank No. 1 -- a good $10,000 ahead of California, the leading state. But the picture changes dramatically once the figures are corrected for regional differences in the cost of living -- dropping Orange County to 20th and California to 30th. The changes stem from high costs of living indexes, or COLI, as determined by the Council for Community and Economic Research." OC Register, William Diepenbrock, April 2, 2009 Actually collective bargaining was and is intended to protect workers. Unions are legal in America. CUSD is actually doing very well. CUSD and California and every public school in America educates every child no matter what level or disability, race or economic standing. In case you haven't noticed educations budgets have been slashed everywhere. Where is all the money? Did it just disappear? Everyone keeps saying there is no money but where did it go? It was here 4 years ago and then suddenly poof gone. It has to be somewhere doesn't it. Where is it? As you say people are taking pay cuts and benefit cuts all over the place but why? Where did the money go?
Jim Reardon November 15, 2011 at 04:19 AM
Oh Shelly, why don't you enlighten us? Where do you think all the money has gone? Questions are not answers.
M November 15, 2011 at 05:06 AM
Good questions Shelly. It seems that there is a lot of money for certain programs, title 1 being one of them. I realize that there are certain programs that require funding, but as you said, four years ago there was money and now suddenly it's gone. Well this article really is about health insurance though. Maybe Penny will write a story on the exorbitant pay teachers in Cusd make, then most of these comments will be on topic.
Capo mom November 15, 2011 at 05:36 AM
Welcome back, jollygirl. We missed participation on the unfunded retiree benefits thread.
Capo mom November 15, 2011 at 05:55 AM
f you think that the money in CUSD "just disappeared", you haven't followed the history. This problem has been years in the making. It predates the state's budget issues. Despite CUEA's claims to the contrary, there was plenty of warning. The history aside, fiscal problems exist. It is incumbent upon our elected officials to deal with the current realities, if they are indeed our elected officials - not CUEA's elected officials. CUEA did spend all that money in the last election (over $500,000). I guess they have to make it up somehow. Issues like this ought to have everyone wondering if it is really all "for the kids".
Greg November 15, 2011 at 06:28 AM
I am laughing at these non enlightened responses. Shelly, where are your facts and forget the media "QUOTES". Shelli, The money is gone! Do you not understand that the tax base has dissapeared not only from property taxes being adjusted and simpley non-existent because of the foreclosed homes and LADERA being the number one area of this? Alsoto the fact that income taxes are also almost non existent now? Income is gone now??? That's where the money has gone. Get it? We are OUT IF MONEY!!!! Time to get real union folks.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 06:34 AM
I would just like to know where all the money went. Not just the money in CUSD but all over. Who absconded with it? Why do we have these current realities of a budget crisis and cut after cut to education and people complaining that teachers make too much money when 4 years ago people were saying that teachers didn't make enough? Capo Mom, I still am wondering if you think that money spend keeping teachers healthy and in the classroom is money spent in the classroom? If not then what is your definition of the "classroom"? Jim Reardon, I don't know where the money is but I do know that it could not have just disappeared so someone has to have it somewhere. I can eliminate the teachers and me because I don't have it and the teachers don't because they didn't or don't make enough to make up for the huge amount of money suddenly missing from our economy. And Mr. Reardon don't you think we should all work together to try to wind the "stopped clock" of underfunding some districts? uh oh, another question. Well my answer is that I believe that it helps to work together, oh, but that is just a feeling and my opinion and according to you feelings don't inform and we must place blame. Okay. I blame who ever took the bulk of the money and I blame a system that funds districts differently. Now I have someone to blame Mr. Reardon can I now suggest people work together. My kids actually attend CUSD schools and I am tired of all the political rhetoric and teacher bashing.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 07:11 AM
Greg, The ranking data comes from the cenus and as the article states above the Council for Community and Economic Research. But you are very free to check out the data for yourself. I did and found that the overwhelming amount supported the OC register article and the PBS news hour article but you are free to research or run your own census. I realize that most of the money is gone. That is why I said it. But money is matter and it does not just disappear. Where did you say the money that disappeared from the economy went? The teachers didn't take it because they could never make the amount that is missing from our economy. Who took the money? The union folks didn't take it because they are struggling too. So who took it and why do the "fair and balanced" news people keep concentrating and blaming everything on the people who don't have the missing money and are still supporting the economy (every little bit helps) with the small percentage of money they earn by putting it back into the economy by paying their mortgages, car payments and buying goods and services. This article is about the board meeting with emphasis on the increasing cost of health care for teachers. The district is set to pay. The teachers and the district will renegotiate if less money comes in. So for now there is enough money to pay this so all the money is not gone after all. What is the problem with spending this money to keep teachers healthy and in the classroom?
Jim Reardon November 15, 2011 at 02:47 PM
shelly, You will find plenty of support for your position among those sleeping in tents outside government buildings around the country. But if you actually want to know where a significant amount of that money has gone, look to the unfunded pension liability owed to former government employees, including teachers. Statewide, this liability is approaching $1 trillion and it continues to erode the value of a dollar spent to educate current students and pay current teachers. You can read all about the big picture here: http://goo.gl/OdG34 -- if you care to bother.
Pam Sunderman November 15, 2011 at 03:37 PM
Mr. Reardon, The unfunded liabilities are the result of actuarial studies predicting the future. They have nothing to do with the current lack of funds in the state or at the district level. That revenue decrease is the direct result of losses in the tax base which have nothing to do with future liabilities (unfunded or not). There is no money right now. Pensions owed to state employees (other than teachers, since their pensions are funded for decades to come) are a pittance of the state budget. Big corporations are not paying their share (some pay nothing) and this adds to the problem. And those sleeping in tents are willing to make personal sacrifices to address the problem. What sacrifice have you made? Litigation and blogging aren't very productive in finding solutions.
Pam Sunderman November 15, 2011 at 03:42 PM
And please identify the bias of your sources. The Cato Institute is a think tank with an agenda. That is their right. Their big picture has to do with their political leanings which you happen to agree with. That does not make their opinions fact.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Jim Reardon, The liabilities were paid for until someone took the money. We, the taxpayers, agreed to pay for government employees salaries and benefits in exchange for education, safe streets, safe neighborhoods, clean water, licensing, a civil society, etc. But you can stay on point and keep blaming the teachers, police workers, fire fighters, DMV workers, park rangers for the state of the economy because that is the message of "fair and balanced" news that you have received. I think helping to pay for health services for the people who work with my children to work towards the goal of educating them so my children and others will become contributing citizens (paying rent or mortgages, buying goods and services, not committing crimes) is a good thing. Because we pay a fair wage and benefits and we maintain a good work environment we keep teachers in the classroom and we don't have a revolving door of teachers. We have teachers who set down roots in our community and care about our kiddos and these teachers contribute to our economy (local, state and federal).
Capo Parent November 15, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Shelly Economics and budgeting are not your forte. CUSD has had to cut millions and millions of dollars over the last several years. It has a district wide declining enrollment which means less revenue coming in. It is facing having to make mid-year cuts of roughly $15 million based on the fact that the state's revenue projection is $1.5 million in the red, Additionally, Orange County is taking $73 million in property taxes that were suppose to go to OC schools. Notwithstanding these facts you're ok with revising an EXISTING contract to give the teachers more money in the form of increase health care benefits that were already negotiate. You're a prime example of why we as a country have a broken financial system. I could understand discussing increasing pay and/or benefits if CUSD had additional revenue coming in, but that is not the case. You and other union supporters want to give more when CUSD has less and less. I use to be staunchly anti-voucher, virgorously defending public education. What has occurred in CUSD over the last several years, and after listening to and reading post by people like you have made me a voucher and charter school supporter.
Capo Parent November 15, 2011 at 05:06 PM
M Care to admit you are wrong? Salaries and benefits make up 86.1% of the budget as noted in the article posted by Penny. Most people (obviously not you) would consider 86.1% to be roughly 87%. It appears you are adverse to facts.
Capo Parent November 15, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Shelly You're great at posing questions, but not too good in providing meaningful, realistic answers. What steps are you and jollygirl to make sure CUSD get's more ADA money? Since the Democrats control all aspects of state government in CA, this should be an easy task, right?
Capo Parent November 15, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Since the board majority voted to spend $30,000 for a consultant to teach the union to negotiate "better," is there now any doubt that CUSD is a puppet and its unions are the master. UFB! This money could have been used to provide the initial funding for the new Chinese language program or could have been spent in some other manner that acutally and directly benefits students. Fleming and the old board are starting to look better and better, and that is a very scarey proposition.
Capo mom November 15, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Unfunded liabilities are more than the result of actuarial studies predicting the future. They resulted in over $3 million pulled from the general fund to cover medical benefits for people who are no longer employed by CUSD. Pension costs will certainly be much higher. This has very much to do with the the current lack of funds in the state or at the district level. CUSD has struggled with budget issues before the current "revenue shortfall", for at least the last 7 years. And the problem will only continue to get worse. Referring to CUEA as a think tank would be an obvious misnomer, but they certainly do have a bias and an agenda. CUEA has steadfastly resisted any attempt to address this issue. This does not benefit students or the community.
shelly November 15, 2011 at 08:56 PM
capo mom, This is not a discussion on increasing pay and benefits it is a discussion of paying for the benefits that we have already agreed to pay. The health insurance companies increased their premiums so the insurance companies are asking for more money. Yes, I agree economics is not my forte because I don't understand why 4 years ago we had enough money in our state and nation and suddenly it all disappeared. Seriously, where is it? As I said before I don't think the union folks took the majority of the money missing from our economy because they are struggling like all of us yet still trying to put money back into our economy by paying their mortgages, bills and buying food and services. Money is matter and matter does not disappear so where did it all go?. Yes for the last several years the education budget has been cut because our economy tanked and money disappeared . The "fair and balanced news" keeps saying it is the fault of teachers, police, firefighters, public union workers yet the numbers do not add up. These people do not have the amount of money missing from our economy. Where is all that money then? Capo Mom, Do you believe that a teacher is part of the classroom and paying to keep a teacher healthy and in the classroom is putting money into the classroom? What is your definition of the classroom? Do you seriously believe that teachers and public union workers were the downfall of the economy?
Capo Parent November 16, 2011 at 08:37 PM
The financial news in CA only get's better. The LOA is projecting roughly a $13 billion deficit as of 1/1/2012 and projects that $3,7 billion of the $4 billion in additional revenue that Brown & the Demos wishfully projected will not be realized. As a result, the $1.4 billion in automatic cuts to K-12 will be triggered unless Brown & the legislature intervene. Meanwhile, CUSD continues to give back millions to its unions and agrees to pay $30,000 to a consultant to teach the unions how to negotiate better. Since unions only represent their members, it can only mean the training is designed to help the unions negotiate better deals for their members, which logically means a worse deal for CUSD. A classic example of one shooting one's self in the foot, or in this case the a**. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/11/legislative-analyst-2-billion-of-mid-year-cuts.html
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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