NPT: Some EPISD employees call proposed EPISD medical plans unhealthy
Sent to NPT late yesterday:
Some EPISD employees not happy with health care fund proposal
FROM A NEWS RELEASE SENT TO THE KDBC 4 NEWSROOM:
Community and EPISD employees cannot afford proposed bait and switch: Short-sighted district budget proposal would be paid for by up to 500 percent increase in costs to employees
EL PASO – A last-minute proposal to balance EPISD’s health care fund by squeezing the money out of employees is scheduled for it’s first airing at a Business Services Committee Meeting on Wednesday, June 10, at 4 p.m.
The administration will propose three new medical insurance plans for school employees, all of which would impose astronomical increases onto employees and their families. The proposal calls for increasing costs to employees by as much as 500 percent and would likely leave teachers, paraprofessionals, and other hourly employees, spouses and children without health insurance.
“The last minute proposal is harmful to employees and their families,” EPFTSP President Lucy Clarke said. “Our members should not have to carry the burden of administration’s short-sighted management.”
Since 2006, EPISD administration has been aware of dramatically rising health care costs – but has taken no action. Now, instead of taking a measured approach, board members will be pressured to rubber-stamp a last-minute proposal that takes the easy road.
“We all depend on the district administrators to make sound budget decisions,” Clarke said. “But cutting school employees to the quick is not the solution and hurts everyone in our community.”
Despite millions in additional state money for a teacher pay raise and federal assistance to help El Paso keep jobs, maintain stable wages and money circulating in our local economy, this latest proposal digs deep into school employees anyway. Vital education support staff, such as paraprofessionals, custodians, campus security personnel and others will be hit especially hard – their proposed wages for next year will not cover the increased health care costs.
“We’re the largest school district in the region, and have the lowest average pay,” Clarke said. “This proposal amounts to a pay cut, which makes it even harder to retain and attract the best to work with our students.”
“The El Paso Federation is standing up for working families, for our children, and the future of the city of El Paso by saying no to this proposal. That this problem has been quietly growing for the past three years reinforces our urging for greater transparency in EPISD management and increased oversight by the Board of Trustees.”
While the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel cannot accept the health care proposal, we are willing to work in a collaborative manner with the administration and Board of Trustees to find a common sense, fair, and equitable solution to this problem.