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Sacramento City Unified teachers to vote on furloughs, health plan concessions

Published: Saturday, Jun. 2, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Sunday, Jun. 3, 2012 - 10:48 am

The Sacramento City Unified School District reached a tentative agreement with its teachers union that includes health benefit concessions and two furlough days.

Sacramento City Teachers Association members will begin voting today on a plan that also includes 10 furlough days if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative fails in November.

The Sacramento City Unified district approved $28 million in cuts earlier this year from its $421 million budget. If the November tax measure doesn't pass, the district anticipates having to slash another $15 million.

The tentative agreement calls for two furlough days whether or not the tax measure passes. The two furlough days from SCTA members will generate $1.56 million in savings and will put the district at the state minimum of 175 school days.

If the tax measure doesn't pass, teachers union members will take an additional 10 furlough days, assuming state lawmakers pass legislation allowing for a shortened school year. If they don't, district spokesman Gabe Ross said SCTA members would take the equivalent of the furloughs in a pay cut.

"We've addressed issues if the tax measure doesn't pass," said Jonathan Raymond, district superintendent.

In addition, Raymond said the health benefit concessions allow the district to address ongoing deficits.

The tentative agreement eliminates rebates for members enrolled in single coverage, eliminates double coverage for married couples who are both employees and raises co-pays to $10 and $15 on two different health plans.

The district will continue to pay the full cost of health insurance for SCTA employees and their families.

"I really would like to commend the SCTA bargaining team," said Jess Serna, the district's chief human resources officer. "We worked well together and at no times was it adversarial."

SCTA Vice President Erik Knudson said union members are voting and they should know by Thursday whether it's ratified.

"In light of the way the school district has managed its money, it is as good as we can do," Knudson said. "The district is happy with it enough and we are happy with it enough. Education – it's grim out there right now."

Serna said the district is still negotiating with other bargaining groups.

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Read more articles by Melody Gutierrez

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