San Ramon Valley Unified School District teachers obtained their first contract since 2008 Tuesday night, leaving the negotiating table with maintained health care benefits and a bonus.
The district's Board of Education voted to approve the new contract for San Ramon Valley Education Association members, who were working with a contract that expired in 2011. The district and the union reached an agreement on May 20 and the SRVEA ratified the vote with 91.9 percent approval on Monday, union Vice President Ann Katzburg said.
"We had a very challenging year," Katzburg said. "Because we were able to retain our benefits, that's what our members voiced loud and clear this year, we're thankful for the district to be able to provide that."
The district proposed a cap on healthcare benefits in September, meaning employees would be responsible for paying additional fees should the cost of healthcare rise. The new contract continues with full family coverage through Kaiser -- which 58 percent of the 1,600 member union uses -- and coverage at an additional cost through HealthNet that some employees use.
SRVEA had also asked for a salary raise and received a one-time bonus worth 4 percent of their pay. Katzburg added that the "me too" clause in the contract means other unions in the district, which include classified workers such as janitorial staff and administrators, will received the bonus.
The bonus will cost SRVUSD $6.38 million, with $4.5 million going toward members of the Education Association. Payouts will decrease the district's reserve 2.83 percent to 8.11 percent, according to reports, still above the state mandated 3 percent minimum.
In addition to the bonus and healthcare changes, elementary teachers were guaranteed three 45-minute prep periods each week. While teachers are currently afforded the prep periods, Katzburg said they are not guaranteed.
"In recessionary times they took away one of our preps. This gives us the guarantee of that and if anything comes up where we move preps, we are able to renegotiate," she said.
The new contract also adds clarifying language on the discretionary leave process. Where teachers previously had to pay for a substitute, educators can now use their five personal necessity days when they take discretionary leave.
A new article on technology was also added to the contract, which allows for the development of a joint advisory committee. The committee will meet once a year to "have conversations about technology and how it can affect our workload," Katzburg said.