The Los Angeles Times reports that a tentative three-year agreement between the Los Angeles Unified School District and eight unions is good for the district’s 60,000 employees, at least in the short term. They hold onto the healthcare choices they have now without having to contribute to their costs.
The district’s continued commitment to covering a broad range of benefits for employees, however, does nothing to ease its pressing financial problems.
L.A. Unified employees are not among the nation’s highest paid, but they enjoy comprehensive medical benefits for themselves and their families — without paying monthly premiums — a perk that is increasingly rare in the workplace.
The Board of Education and members of the unions are expected to approve the new pact.
The district pays more $20,000 annually for the healthcare of each retiree who is too young to qualify for the federal Medicare program. Older retirees use district benefits as a healthcare supplement to cover what Medicare doesn’t, which costs the district about $7,100 a person each year.
It will cost about $13.5 billion in today’s dollars to pay for all retiree health benefits over the next 30 years.
That’s a problem because L.A. Unified has put aside relatively little to cover these expenses.