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Non-Teaching Staff Tighten Belts Again

Classified employees, along with managers and other non-represented employees will face up to seven more furlough days and will contribute 5 percent toward health insurance costs, the Board of Education has decided.

As many as seven furlough days will occur in the 2011-12 fiscal year.  The 5 percent contribution goes into effect January 2012.  The same employees are facing five unpaid furlough days this school year.

The latest belt tightening is a response to the state’s ongoing cuts to public education.

The school board OK’d the changes for some classified employees at a special meeting last Friday when it approved a new contract with Unit B of the California School Employees Association Long Beach Chapter 2.  Similar changes for nonrepresented employees and CSEA Unit A workers had already been approved by the school board at a prior meeting, but Unit B’s contract was delayed after workers rejected their deal by a 51 percent vote.  In a re-vote on a slightly revised contract, 86 percent of Unit B later approved, allowing the Board of Education’s final OK at the special meeting.  The Unit B deal also brings the same five furlough days that teachers and other employees are taking this school year (starting next week).

Unit A includes clerical and support services employees.  Unit B includes construction, maintenance, repair and transportation workers.

The school district’s compromise with CSEA includes job protection and job restoration.  LBUSD will restore roughly 36 percent of the remaining members on a reemployment list who have been laid off since April 19.

Job protections in the approved CSEA deals include an agreement not to layoff bargaining unit members for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year, with some exceptions.  If the state reduces LBUSD’s funding by $50 or more per pupil, for instance, negotiations may be reopened.

All district employees, including teachers per their latest contract, also face changes to health benefits, including the elimination of the PacifiCare plan, a change in pharmacy plans and other modifications that will save money while still providing employees with competitive benefits, including a wide range of health plan options and health care providers.

For those paying 5 percent toward health plans starting in 2012, following are examples of the quadriweekly cost to the employee.  Figures are estimated and are likely to change:

• Blue Shield PPO (employee + family):  $99.55;

• Kaiser HMO (employee + one):  $52.95;

• Blue Shield HMO (employee only):  $24.55.