LAUSD backs off proposal to cut health care and is now set to guarantee benefits at current levels for three more years

Despite having laid out options to save money on health care, LA Unified has “rolled over” and agreed to continue funding its generous benefits for district employees, retirees, and their dependents at current levels for the next three years.

The district’s proposal was given late last week to union negotiators. The unions will respond to the district’s offer at its next bargaining session on Nov. 16. The school board must vote on any agreement before it becomes final. The two newest members of the board praised the proposal, even though one of them, Nick Melvoin, had called the district’s spiraling healthcare expenses a “crisis” during his campaign.

Pedro Noguera, an education professor at UCLA who facilitated two board retreats earlier this year to address the district’s looming budget deficits, said Wednesday that he told board members and Superintendent Michelle King that the district needed a strategic plan to align goals with their finances.

“In the absence of that kind of plan, it’s like they’re just waiting for things to get worse before they take action,” he said. “I think that’s not a good way to approach it because the only options at that point will be mass layoffs and closing schools.”

LA Unified’s healthcare benefits are among the most generous in the nation. Employees — and their dependents — pay no premiums and have lifetime benefits.

Last year, the district expanded healthcare offerings by extending benefits to teacher assistants and playground aides even though the agreement stated that it will help push district reserves into the red by half a billion dollars within two years. Click here to read more: