Sacramento City Unified delays mediation over teacher health changes

The Sacramento City Unified School District and the Sacramento City Teachers Association, split over unilateral changes to 2015 health insurance options, will not start mediation next week as the California Public Employment Relations Board had proposed.

The state board on Monday forced the district into mediation with teachers over allegations that the health changes occurred in violation of the teachers’ labor contract. The board had called for a meeting early next week.

District spokesman Gabe Ross said Friday that Sacramento City Unified needed more time to prepare and to make staff available for the session. He said the state board has agreed that more time is appropriate, but he said no new date has been set.

The state board’s action was triggered by an unfair labor practice filing by the 2,200-member teachers association.

Officials for the union, representing teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses and other employees, said earlier this week they had hoped that a quick meeting could reverse the changes planned for 2015.

The district has eliminated Health Net as a health insurance option starting in January. During last month’s open enrollment, employees were asked to choose between Kaiser, an existing health insurer, Sutter Health Plus or Western Health Advantage HMO.

Call The Bee’s Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee.