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Teachers Agree to $750,000 in Concessions, to Be Voted on June 27

Teachers tentatively agree to pay for 30 percent of dependents' health care contribution, and two furlough days.

After months of back and forth, the presented its with the teachers union Monday night, which included about $750,000 in concessions.

That, along with other belt-tightening moves and revenue raising, will allow some teacher layoff notices to be rescinded and some programs that were slated for elimination to be restored, said Randall Kenyon, assistant superintendent of business services, who made the presentation Monday  night.

The Los Altos Teachers Association conceded to a $750,000 in savings for the district in the next school year, which includes two furlough days and higher employee contributions to health care. They must hold a ratification vote and the district's board must vote to accept the agreement before it could take effect.

Under the proposed new agreement, teachers will pick up 30 percent of the health care contributions for their dependents. The district will continue to pay for 95 percent of the teachers’ health care costs, according to Kenyon. The district currently pays for 95 percent of the teachers’ health care costs for themselves and for their families.

“Generally I’d say our benefits—of what the district contributes to—are richer than many, richer than most districts,” Kenyon said. “Our salaries are not as competitive as they used to be, so that’s a bit imbalanced.”

The furlough days fall on one already non-instructional day, and the other simply moves the last day of school up one day, according to Kenyon.

“I think we’ve just come through one of the most stressful and contentious union negotiations that any of us can remember,” said Joe Seither, co-president of the (LAEF), which raises money for school programs.

“I’m very happy to be getting past it so that we can get down to the business of focusing on next year and knowing what the finances look like.”

At one point, the district had as much as a $6.5 million gap to fill for the 2011-12 year, but the shortfall has shrunk over the last few months, with the passage of the  and more optimistic assumptions of additional revenue from the state.

Elsewhere in the budget, the district has changes and possible savings to come from the classified employees, administration and more, Kenyon said.

With the LAEF grant expected to remain the same as this year–$2.35 million–and the recent employee concessions, some layoff notices will be rescinded and some program cuts will not be needed, Kenyon said.

But, many will still follow.

“Even with the concessions the district announced, we’re not back to the same level of programs we had last year, still,” said Seither.

Program cuts will be presented again at the next board meeting.

Next week’s regularly scheduled board meeting was canceled and moved to June 27 so that the negotiations presented last night could have the legal ten days for public comment before the school board takes its vote on the 27th.

Mark Goines, vice president of the board, requested the proposed program cuts and their savings, and the proposed budget be posted online for the public prior to Monday’s meeting. 

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