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Palmdale School District reaches agreement on cuts with two unions

Teachers yet to agree to concessions

Cynthia E. Griffin | 6/21/2013, midnight
Two of the three labor unions that serve the Palmdale School District (PSD) have agreed to salary concessions and furlough ...

Two of the three labor unions that serve the Palmdale School District (PSD) have agreed to salary concessions and furlough days that will help enable the district to meet its financial obligations for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

The latest agreement was hammered out between the PSD and the California School Employees Association (CSEA) with help from a mediator, and was approved by the school board Tuesday and was ratified by the union membership on June 13.

Additionally, on Tuesday the school district approved the rescinding of the classified employee layoffs.

CSEA represents 770 classified workers such as instructional aides, maintenance and food service workers.

According to labor relations representative Rita Jackson, the union has agreed to nine furlough days in both school years as well as a 3.8 percent salary reduction in the first year and 3.8 and 8.4 percent reductions in the 2014-15 school year.

Additionally, the classified and management unions had previously negotiated a maximum contribution of $15,550 to health benefits.

According to the district, the agreement means that the layoff of 20 percent of the classified employee work force has been rescinded.

According to PSD Superintendent Roger D. Gallizzi, the district negotiated a similar agreement with the union representing its 120 management employees, but has yet to ink a deal with the union representing the 900 teachers.

That negotiation process is currently in fact-finding mode by a mediator and the parties are expected to meet again on June 27.

Gallizzi called the agreements with classified and the administrative unions “a worst-case-scenario” situation and pointed out that furlough days were also negotiated in last year’s contracts, but were rescinded because the district was able to create a larger end-of-year fund budget, which allowed PSD to pay all union employees fully.

He also noted that the district is waiting for approval of a final budget and all the connected trailer bills from the governor and the Legislature to determine exactly how much money Palmdale will receive.

CSEA’s Jackson noted that the furloughs and salary reductions, particularly in the second year, are contingent on the state funding day the district receives. She noted that for each $436,000 in additional funds the district receives one furlough is reduced.

PSD needs the concessions from its employees to address a multimillion-dollar budget deficit that Gallizzi said has been caused by the state’s continued underfunding of school districts.