The Pleasanton school board unanimously passed a new collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers that includes a 3.25% salary increase starting July 1 and new health benefits.
The terms are part of a tentative agreement covering the next three academic years, with a one-year settlement for the 2022-23 portion of the agreement. The estimated annual cost of the salary increase is estimated at $3,261,460.
Starting July 1, the Pleasanton Unified School District will also offer health benefits for employees in line with CalPERS health benefits -- a maximum of $5,000 including all CalPERS-required contributions.
For next fiscal year, the district proposes a cash-in-lieu contribution of $1,500 for any member not participating in the health benefits program and annual cash-in-lieu contribution of $2,000 will also be available for any member not participating in the CalPERS health benefits program after July 1, 2023.
The estimated annual cost of the additional contribution to the medical or cash-in-lieu option is estimated at $1,814,000 in 2022-23 and increasing an additional $300,000 in 2023-24.
Trustee Joan Laursen said it's essential to add medical benefits for employees to better attract and retain new employees.
"The district for years did not provide any medical benefits for teachers because the teachers union voted years and years ago to put those benefits on the salary schedule, which at the time was a good deal for the employees," Laursen said at the May 12 regular meeting.
She added that it was a barrier for hiring new teachers when they saw the district did not offer any health benefits.
"Having our contract settled earlier in the year has allowed our educators to focus on their passion and work for educating and supporting Pleasanton students," APT secretary Cheryl Atkins said during the meeting. "We hope this will be a trend that will continue; it shows belief and support in our educators and our students."
At a special meeting one week later, the Board of Trustees also signed off on a new program designed to incentivize employees to consider retiring, as part of a cost-reduction strategy for the district.
The Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) Supplementary Retirement Plan is a retirement incentive program that essentially save the district money by encouraging employees who are close to retirement to leave.
Employees who are eligible for retirement are paid more and employees who are new hires are generally paid less because they are in the beginning of their salary schedule. Having longer-tenured teachers retire and create openings for new teachers would result in potential savings for the district.
Board members unanimously passed the program because they all shared the same thought process, which was to maintain newer teachers in a time of low enrollment.