Non-teaching employees of the will get paid for 6.5 days that were originally planned as unpaid, furlough days, the board of trustees decided Monday night.
The contract that trustees approved in September for the California School Employees Association includes language that allows for the restoration of furlough days should the district come into more money than it had anticipated in January.
The move—the third this year to restore concessions to school district employee groups—comes at the same time the school district is . The district also needs to and is .
“I want to assure you that CSEA understands the financial outlook for CUSD for next year," said Ronda Walen, president of the California School Employees Association’s local chapter 224.
While she recognized that holding off on the restorations “would have been the logical thing to do," Walen said, "CUSD and CSEA signed an agreement that clearly calls for restoration of furlough days.”
The cost to restore the additional 6.5 furlough days for the classified employees comes to $1.45 million. With the two instructional days already restored, that brings the total for CSEA employees to $1.9 million. The district has already spent $2.8 million and another $4.6 million to .
It wasn't until October that the state Legislature finally passed a budget. It included $1.7 billion more for schools across the state than had originally been planned. For Capistrano Unified, that translated into $225 more a student, or $11.2 million.
The previous two moves to restore concessions to employee groups challenging whether the trigger had been met to restore concessions with the unions. San Juan Capistrano resident Jim Reardon said the teachers’ restoration language—on which the classified employees based their own restoration language—requires passage of both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 state budgets.
In addition, the restoration language for both unions says the additional money must be “actual funded." The district’s share of the $1.7 billion has been deferred until next school year. Therefore, Reardon contends, the trigger has not been met.
Trustee Ellen Addonizio said Monday night she, too, is unconvinced the district was in a position requiring the restorations. “I very much regret restoring furlough days one day, then the next day, laying some pour soul off,” she said.
But Trustee Anna Bryson said it would be “unacceptable and not tolerable” to not uphold the contracts’ provisions.
The restorations passed Monday in a 5-2 vote, with Addonizio and Trustee Sue Palazzo dissenting.
Three of the restored days will occur in this school year. Another 3.5 days will be restored to next year’s work calendar. Classified employees are still scheduled to take between 1.5 to three furlough days in the 2011-12 school year.
In other business, the school board:
- Agreed to reopen contract negotiations with the district’s three union groups—the teachers, the classified employees and the Teamsters—to discuss the 2011-12 budget. The district wants to discuss wages and class sizes with the teachers, and wages and hours with the other employees. In addition, the teachers have requested that the district look at health and welfare benefits.
- Approved a new meeting schedule that calls for two meetings a month—on the second Monday and fourth Wednesday of the month.
- Increased the cost of lunches and breakfasts. The new requirements for , as well as rising fuel costs, prompted the increase. The costs of breakfasts at elementary schools will go from $1.50 to $1.75, and lunches will rise from $2.25 to $2.50. Middle school breakfasts will increase from $1.75 to $2, while lunch prices and all high school meals will not change.
- Signed an agreement with the Orange County Health Care Agency to continue providing mental health services to students, at a cost of $936,000 for the months of April, May and June. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had , even though federal law requires the school districts to provide them. Since Jan. 1, the Orange County Department of Education had been reimbursing the Health Care Agency for its costs with federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds, which are now exhausted. Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent for business and support services, said he does not know whether the state will start picking up the tab for the services next year once again. He is building the $5.6-million cost into the district’s budget, just in case it does not.
- Filled some key positions within the district: Coming from Long Beach Unified, Sara R. Jocham will serve as assistant superintendent of special education; Principal Deni Christensen will go to the district’s headquarters as executive director of secondary schools, adult and alternative education programs; and Las Palmas elementary school teacher Dana Aguilera will become principal of , a K-8 school in Mission Viejo.
- Honored advanced digital photography students from the San Juan Hills High for their efforts to , the results of which now adorn Capo's headquarters' halls and board room.