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Provider switch nets teacher raises

Ryan Carter

The Burbank Teachers Assn. and the Burbank Unified School District

tentatively agreed this week to a one-year contract that will give

teachers, nurses and counselors a 2.75% pay raise, their first in two



The deal comes nearly four months after the school board voted

unanimously to discontinue district health-care coverage provided by

the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and offer


employees a choice of health plans. By dropping CalPERS, the district

is expected to save $1 million, making the raises possible.

“We’re pleased with what we think is a fair outcome,” said Kim

Allender, co-president of union, which represents 850 teachers,

nurses and counselors. “Given the financial situation with the state

and the district, I think our teachers will be pleased.”

The union and the school district are expected to ratify the

contract next month, and the raises would be retroactive to Jan. 1,


officials said.

The tentative agreement also calls for a cap on the district’s

medical benefit contributions at $9,438 per teacher, which district

officials said will save the district millions of dollars over

several years. It also provides for a one-time .75% bonus increase.

In exchange for dropping their existing coverage, teachers, nurses

and counselors were promised raises, officials said.

“It think it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Nancy Gascich, the


district’s director of personnel services. “The teachers have been in

the lowest [25% in pay] in the county for a long time. This will

improve their standing in the county after not having raises for two

years, and it’s good for the district because it helps us maintain

quality teachers and not lose them to surrounding districts that are

paying more.”

The district and the union have negotiated with Blue Shield to

provide health insurance benefits, and have retained Kaiser

Permanente as an optional insurer.

“The district is going to be realizing substantial savings and

achieving predictability in its health-care costs,” school board

member Paul Krekorian said. “At the same time, because of the savings

with cooperation of teachers, we will be able to provide a salary

increase that doesn’t leave our teachers at the bottom in the