More LSD contracts

By Sam Inglot

Four employee groups get new contracts

This story was updated Thursday, March 28 to say that the secretary employee group has a new five-year contract.

Wednesday, March 27 — Four remaining employee groups with the Lansing School District got new contracts today, which include no layoffs and no salary increases.

The four groups are instructional assistants, secretaries, food and custodial workers and bus drivers. All together, the groups represent roughly 440 employees, said Virginia Acheson, executive director of human services for the district.

The district secretaries agreed to a five-year contract, while the other groups agreed to three-year contracts.

Under the new contracts, employees will see no increases in salary, but they also won’t be seeing any layoffs, she said.

However, the contracts did include more concessions from two of the groups.

Food service and custodial workers took on a third yearly furlough day. All other district employee groups have two furlough days a year, Acheson said.

Bus drivers will also be paid less often for filling up their vehicles. In the past, drivers were paid every day for the 10 minutes they spent fueling their buses. Acheson said drivers would now be paid every third day, rather than every day.

The fuel time concession “doesn’t sound like much,” Acheson said, “but it adds up.”

Two board members, Peter Spadafore and Shirley Rodgers, were absent from the meeting today. Board member Charles Ford voted against approving all four contracts, while Myra Ford recused herself from voting on the instructional assistants contract.

The contract approvals come less than a week after the ratification of a teachers’ union contract that will include layoffs of roughly 90 art, physical education, music and media instructors, as well as the elimination of teachers’ planning time. The four contracts that were approved today didn’t come with the media hype that surrounded the teachers’ union contract.

Acheson said the contract approvals took roughly three weeks of intensive negotiations and she is pleased with the results.

“I’m thrilled it’s over,” she said. “It’s really hard to do that many in that short of a time. It’s amazing that all the groups were very cooperative. There was a lot of brainstorming back and forth to figure out how to make it work.”

Board President Guillermo Lopez said the board would be notified of the savings through the contracts at the next regular board meeting on April 11. The district is facing a $9 million deficit heading into the next school year. The concessions made through the teachers’ union contract are expected to save the district $7 million.