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Hart district officials agree to reductions

Posted: May 30, 2009 8:19 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Hart district's 90 administrators will be taking a $13,500 cap for health benefits and a shorter work year as a way to help solve the district's projected $27 million budget deficit, district officials said Friday.

"No one wants cuts in salaries or benefits, but we have to face the reality of these dire economic times," said Rochelle Neal, assistant superintendent of human resources for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Under the benefit cap, the district will continue to pay administrators' health benefit premiums up to $13,500, with employees paying for any additional costs. Coverage and services offered will remain the same.

The $13,500 cap will still cover the full premiums for many of the district's five health benefit options, Neal said.

"This change would be in line with what other districts have been doing for years," she said.

Depending on the position, the shortened administrative work year ranges between three and four days.

The reduced work year will not impact staffing during days students are in school.

The concessions are similar to the ones the Hart district is asking other Hart district bargaining units to take.

Leslie Littman, president of the Hart District Teachers Association, doesn't think every unit should take the same contract changes.

"How each unit is addressing the budget is very different - and it should be," Littman said. "The jobs are different."

The teachers association proposed "short-term, temporary solutions," that involve increasing class sizes and eliminating professional development days instead of taking a health benefits cap, she said.

The decision comes as the Hart district prepares its balanced budget by June 30 deadline.

"The goal remains to keep jobs, keep the instructional program intact and provide a quality instructional program," Neal said. "This is a further step toward enabling the district to balance the budget and avoid layoffs."

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