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LCMSD Board Takes Action to Improve Employee Health Benefits

LCMSD Board Takes Action to Improve Employee Health Benefits
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Dear LCMSD Community,


We are excited to announce that the LCMSD Board of Trustees has approved the tentative agreements with CSEA and LCMEA. 


Board President Eric Schmautz said, “Our teachers and staff are central to everything we do. They inspire our children and are core to our academic achievements. As community funded schools, we are grateful for this opportunity to provide bonus and benefits enhancements this year. The changes will go a long way in supporting our employees and their families.” 


Negotiations were extremely collaborative, where the budget was unpacked and discussed, including the difference between one-time and ongoing funds. Due to a shared commitment to open-dialogue, teamwork, and trust, an agreement was efficiently made with smiles across all sides of the table. 


LCMEA Co-Presidents Amanda Estes and John Christopherson-Mathews shared, “This unexpected agreement, amidst a currently closed contract, builds upon the success of last spring's negotiation. This new agreement provides additional financial support for our teachers by eliminating out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and grants our members comprehensive coverage that was previously beyond their means. This added compensation is a direct outcome of the positive collaboration between the Union and District to pursue our shared goal of competitive compensation amongst other Marin districts.” CSEA President Renee Power added, “We are proud to have been a part of this collaboration. This agreement is exciting to share as it so positively affects our LCMSD Family.” Below are the key elements of the agreement:


  • $10,500 has been added to the health benefits cap taking LCMSD employees from paying approximately $800 per month for their share of premiums to zero (Kaiser HMO Traditional) (ongoing funds)

  • $5,000 bonus to recognize the commitment toward Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (one-time funds)

  • $1,000 retention bonus for staff who return in the 2024-25 school year (one-time funds)

  • 80% annuity for retirement-eligible staff - this results in cost savings for the District, based on new-hire salaries


Additionally, the District will be using one-time funds to increase literacy, math, and English learner intervention programs by the equivalent of three full-time teachers for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. This was based on needs observed, as well as feedback from parents and teachers. 


Want to read more . . . 


You might be wondering - haven’t tentative bargaining agreements already been approved for 2023-24 and the next two years? The answer is yes. So why would the District reopen negotiations with our support staff and educator unions? The short answer is that the amount of property tax received this year was higher than anticipated.


The District’s goals in last year’s negotiations were twofold: 1) increase staff compensation to attract and retain highly qualified employees; and 2) address the ongoing structural deficit budgeting model. While we needed to make some reductions, a salary increase was offered and our budget began trending in a balanced, fiscally sound manner. 


On November 16, 2023, we were notified by the county of an increase in property taxes. We observed and followed those numbers for the first interim in December, as well as the second interim in March. Simultaneously, we began analyzing the impact of all compensation agreements across school districts in Marin County to see where our staff fell in that competitive pool. Despite our efforts during last year’s negotiations, LCMSD was second from the bottom in total compensation (when removing one-school rural districts). In terms of health benefits, LCMSD was at the bottom, with employees paying approximately $800 per month for their share of health benefits premiums for full coverage. The LCMSD health benefits cap was $12,250, while the Marin average was $19,047, and Mill Valley was at the top at $24,948. This gap isn’t ok. Collaboratively, across all employee groups, we agreed to use this increase in property taxes to fund the health benefits gap and make a significant difference for all staff.


We want to attract and retain the very best for our children. We have an incredible team that dedicates each and every day to passionately teach and support our students. Beginning over ten years ago, we have been unable to appropriately fund district programs. Our expenditures (programs) far exceeded our revenues. We have worked hard as a governance team, as a district, as employee associations to right our ship. Now that we have a balanced budget, it is time to appropriately fund our current program, which primarily consists of people. Being second from the bottom in total compensation is not where we want to be. This change to health benefits will move us to the middle of overall compensation within the county and will allow us to focus on salary compensation during future negotiations. 


We are proud of these agreements and what they mean to the 144 staff who have dedicated their professional lives to serving the students and families of LCMSD. 


Amanda Estes, LCMEA Co-President

John Christopherson-Mathews, LCMEA Co-President


Renee Power, CSEA President


Brett Geithman, Superintendent

 


LCMSD Board of Trustees
Eric Schmautz, President
Amir Movafaghi, Vice President
Beth Blair, Clerk
Natalie Medved
Annie Sherman
 
Superintendent
Brett Geithman, Ed.D.