Susanville School District offers teachers a deal
“Significant progress has been made during the last several months of negotiations under the supervision of the state mediator,” said Llaniss Dickinson, the board’s president. “The board believes it will expedite final settlement by proposing this latest formal package contract proposal.”
Negotiations between the district and the teachers union representatives began last fall after the conclusion of the 2006-2006 contact negotiation. A mediator from the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service was invited to facilitate the negotiations last February.
The proposal provides a contract through June 30, 2009. Negotiations would be reopened on salaries and benefits and up to two other contract articles selected by each party during the 2008-2009 school year.
The most volatile issue separating the two sides has been who will pay for the teachers’ health care — the district or the teachers themselves. The district has traditionally borne the cost of the teachers’ health care benefits.
According to the proposal, the district would continue to fully pay the premiums for the teachers and their family’s medical, prescription and vision insurance for 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The current annual premium cost is $12,696 per teacher.
Any premium increases for the insurance package after Oct. 1, 2008 would be funded in part by applying some of the teacher portion of the Medi-Cal Administrative Activity reimbursement to the establishment of an excess premium pool.
According to the proposal, “During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the district will increase its monthly contribution by 50 percent of any additional premium costs for the above coverage that become effective during the fiscal year. The other 50 percent of said premium costs increases will be funded by the unit’s share of MAA revenue … ”
According to the release, “This meets the expressed interest of the teacher group that unit members continue to receive comprehensive health benefits without paying any portion of the premium cost.”
The proposal would continue fully paid medical, prescription, dental and vision insurance coverage for retired teachers and one dependent.
Teachers hired prior to July 1, 2003 and employed at least 60 percent are eligible to receive a prorated amount of district-paid insurance benefits.
Teachers hired after July 1, 2003 must work full time to be eligible for coverage.
Teachers who retired under the California State Teachers Retirement System who are at least 55-years-old with at least 15 consecutive years of service are eligible to continue their insurance coverage for themselves and one dependent. The district’s contribution would end when the teacher turns 65 or dies.
Teachers may select a $5,000 per year payment in lieu of the retirement insurance benefit, however, election of this cash payment option shall be irrevocable.
The teachers also would receive a raise in pay.
Salaries would increase by 3 percent effective July 1, 2006. An additional 5 percent increase would be effective July 1, 2007. According to the district, certificate salary savings realized over the 2007-2008 school year would fund 2 percent of the later increase.
The district reported the 8 percent salary increase over the two-year period would bring the annual beginning teacher salary to $38,257 and the highest step teacher salary would rise to $72,372, or $397.65 per day.
According to the district’s release, “Teacher compensation, including paid health benefits and salary for the highest step of the salary schedule would be $85,068 or $467.41 daily.
According to the proposal, special education teachers would receive a $1,000 stipend retroactive to July 1, 2006. The current stipend is $500.
Teachers selected by their principal as the designated teacher in charge also would receive a $1,000 stipend effective July 1, 2007.
The district’s contract proposal also regulates the number of students in classes that have at least three special day class students. If the enrollment exceeds 24 students for 10 consecutive days, the teacher of that class will earn an additional day of six leave each consecutive 10-day period.
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