Classified employees who work for the Galt Joint Union High School District have agreed to a work-year reduction based on a sliding scale.
That was part of the tentative agreement unanimously approved late Tuesday between the district and members of the local California School Employees Association. The contract runs through June 30, 2013.
Employees also agreed to a one-time early retirement incentive for those who are at least 59 years old but no older than 64. In exchange, all eligible employees will receive $300 per month in district-contributed health coverage up to age 65.
That, coupled with the reduction of paid work days for the next school year, will save the district approximately $21,500 in annual salaries and benefits.
The agreement will help close a $1.5 million gap in next school year's budget.
The sliding scale shows classified employees could work up to seven fewer days next school year if the district loses between $354 and $400 in per-student funding from the state. If there is no per-student loss, the work year reduction will be only three days.
The district is currently anticipating a $441 loss in per-student funding, according to Chief Business Official Audrey Kilpatrick.
On Tuesday, trustees also received an update on the state budget and its potential effect on the district's finances. The 2012-13 district budget will be voted on later this month.
Kilpatrick warned that unless fall enrollment skyrockets or the board cuts expenditures by $1.2 million in the future, there will be a negative balance in 2013-14.
The three-hour-plus meeting also included plaques and cake celebrating the board's outgoing student representatives and retiring Superintendent Daisy Lee.
Both school board members and the teachers' union president gave her accolades, especially regarding teacher trainings she put into place during her 2 1/2-year tenure.
"I know I am a better teacher now than I was three years ago," Alex Bauer said in a letter read aloud by board president Art Oelsner, who thanked Lee for being a good teacher to him.
Trustee Mark Beck also praised Lee. "You're honest, candid and up front."