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School district reaches settlement with teachers 

School trustees voted unanimously on settlement

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the Tentative Settlement Agreement with the Paso Robles Public Educators (PRPE) bargaining unit on May 30, 2013.

The Settlement comes as a result of a Fact Finding proceeding after failed negotiations which resulted in PRPE going to Impasse. The Fact Finding sessions took place May 8-9, 2013. The chairman of the three-member panel from the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) stated in the Settlement Agreement that the District could no longer maintain the status quo regarding salary and compensation.

He further stated that the District did need financial relief. The chairman also recognized the sacrifices that all the employees had made and recommended that in order for the District to maintain fiscal solvency, and for the employees to minimize their loss of income, that furlough days should be established. In addition to the furlough days, he recommended contingency language be placed in the Settlement to restore the furloughed instructional days as quickly as possible if additional funds are made available by the state.

The Settlement Agreement language was strongly recommended to both PRJUSD and PRPE. At that time, the Chair also directed that no discussion on the Settlement be held with outside entities or the press until the vote had been ratified by PRPE, and until the Board had approved the Settlement. To that end, the District now submits this Press Release.

The Settlement directs that nine furlough days be established, and that of those nine days, five of them be instructional days for both students and staff. The other four days are traditional teacher work days when students are not in attendance. Four of the nine days must be scheduled in the second semester.

The Settlement also stipulates restorative language for the establishment of the instructional days first should funds become available; this would restore teacher compensation as well. The contingency language in the Settlement is to ensure that neither of the parties is advantaged or disadvantaged by actions taken by the state that amend current law and are beyond the control of the parties.

The Settlement also keeps the current Health Benefit cap at $9,392 for each employee per year.

In addition, the parties agreed to a Health Benefit cap for certificated retirees to be reduced from its current District cost of $15,632 annually. Beginning in 2016, the retiree Health Benefit cap will be equal to the cost on June 30, 2016, of the Blue Cross, PHN 90% plan, with the same provisions.

The other elements of the Settlement maintains the status quo for transfers/vacant position movement of staff, salary re-openers as funding permits, and that a calendar be developed by the District for the 2013-14 school year.

Finally, a committee will be formed to establish a calendar with topics for the District’s teacher collaboration days.

The Settlement Agreement has many of the same tenets that the District offered in December of 2012 during regular negotiations. The District is appreciative of the efforts of both bargaining teams and the PERB panel for their cooperation in bringing about this Settlement.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.