Merced school employees to get a little boost

Extra money to help pay health insurance costs

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comApril 19, 2013 

— All Merced City School District employees will be getting some extra money from their bosses, intended to defray increased costs of health insurance premiums.

At Tuesday's board of education meeting, board members unanimously approved one-time settlements with classified employees represented by the California School Employees Association, teachers represented by the Merced City Teachers Association and unrepresented employees.

The one-time payment of about $800 per employee in out-of-pocket costs will cost the district $684,585 for the 2012-13 school year which ends in June.

Superintendent RoseMary Parga Duran said employees haven't gotten raises in five years, and every little bit helps. She said employees are appreciative of at least that amount, given uncertain state funding and budget deficits over the last several years.

Board President Adam Cox was pleased with the action.

"I'm just happy we can help the employees out a little bit," he said.

Greg Spicer, associate superintendent for administrative services, said the settlements will cover the nine months between October and June when insurance premiums went up about $100 a month.

A similar $100 monthly increase is expected this October, Spicer said.

"We are moving piece by piece," Spicer said. "There are too many unknowns in the budget right now."

Spicer said the district worked well with the employee unions on contract negotiations.

Dora Crane, teachers association president, said teachers worked hard to get Proposition 30 passed in November's general election. She said this was a chance to give something back to employees for their past sacrifices.

The cost of living has gone up and teachers realize the tough economic times facing schools. Hopefully in the future, as state education funding is reconfigured and possibly expanded, there will be more money for teachers, Crane said.

"We're thankful for what we got in these tough economic times," Crane said.

Board member Gene Stamm said the one-time settlement was fair and didn't add any major costs to the district's budget.

It will cost $401,162 to implement the payments for teachers association members and $222,491 for the classified or non-teaching employees. It will cost $60,932 for unrepresented employees, including district administrators, Spicer said.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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