LBUSD, TALB reach tentative agreement on furlough days, contract changes

The Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) have reached a tentative contract agreement that includes five unpaid furlough days next school year, along with other contract changes, in exchange for the preservation of 200 teaching jobs.
“We’re pleased that TALB recognizes the severity of the state’s fiscal crisis and is willing to compromise during these tough times for public schools,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools for the Long Beach Unified School District. “While the shorter school year is not ideal, it is part of a fair agreement that helps us to save jobs and protect students and teachers from even deeper cuts to the classroom.”
If TALB’s membership votes for the deal, the Board of Education will consider the agreement for final approval.
The furlough days will shorten the 2010-11 school year to 175 instructional days, down from 180 this year. The 175-day school year is the minimum length now allowed by the state.
Three of the furlough days will occur Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 22 to 24. These dates immediately precede the Nov. 25 and 26 holiday for Thanksgiving. The fourth and fifth furlough days will be taken March 25 and March 28, 2011, creating a four-day weekend next spring.
An accompanying comprehensive tentative agreement also calls for cost-saving measures related to health benefits. None of these measures will result in any increase in employee contributions toward monthly healthcare costs for full-time teachers. LBUSD employees currently pay zero in monthly payroll deductions for health care, and that will not change. The Pacificare HMO option, however, will be eliminated as of Jan. 1, and teachers will see dental and pharmacy plan changes designed to save money without reducing benefits to employees. The comprehensive tentative agreement also includes an attachment spelling out language changes related to teacher transfers.
The tentative deal is designed to save the school district $12 million as it copes with ongoing, multi-billion-dollar cuts in state funding for public schools. The draft agreement continues through June 30, 2012, though the compensation portion of the contract would be reopened no later than Feb. 1, 2011 for the 2011-12 school year.


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