An agreement reached last week by the Oregon City School District and teachers’ union will save the district about $375,000 and allow it to restore seven teaching positions that had been recently cut as part of an extensive austerity measure.
The Oregon City Federation of Teachers agreed to an increase in members’ contribution to their medical insurance plan. The increase goes into effect Aug. 1.
The school board last month had approved cutting seven teachers as the district prepares to go to the polls Aug. 4 and decide a 5.95-mill emergency operating levy.
Superintendent Michael Zalar said he was pleased the union agreed to voluntarily restructure its medical benefit plan.
“This will be the third time our employees have renegotiated health benefits in the last three years,” he said.
The positions that were cut include: elementary music, auto technology, career tech agriculture, an intervention specialist at Coy school, elementary guidance, behavior intervention at the high school, and work in family life.
Last April, the board directed Zalar to implement $3.5 million in spending cuts.
Jeff Ziviski, board president, said the plan included no increases for health care costs.
“…meaning the board did not want to pay any more for health care next year than it did this year,” he said, noting cutting the teaching positions was a move to help offset district-wide increases of about $500,000 for health care benefits from last year.
The administrative and non-teaching staffs have also agreed to concessions in health care benefits totaling about $270,000.
The teachers contract is in effect until July, 2010 but the agreement was reached under a re-opener provision to discus wages and benefits.
In addition, contract language was modified to enable the administration to change school day start and ending times and establish what is describes as a more efficient transportation schedule.
If voters approve the levy, it would generate about $3.6 million a year.