I-L board finds ObamaCare will take additional $90k bite out of taxpayers, just to cover support staff
Published Date Written by Adam DrapchoCENTER HARBOR — The Inter-Lakes School Board has reached an agreement with the Inter-Lakes Support Staff Association that will give each member a raise of 70 cents per hour. Additionally, the agreement adds a new health insurance plan that is expected to cost taxpayers an additional $91,148 next school year.
School board member Howard Cunningham, who headed the negotiating team for the district, reported the status of the collective bargaining agreement after the conclusion of a board meeting held on Tuesday night in Center Harbor. He said the agreement, which has been ratified by both the school board and the union, will be in effect for one school year if approved by voters at the annual district meeting in March.
At the meeting, board members unanimously agreed to ask voters at the district meeting to approve of an operating budget of $20,998,543 for the 2013-2014 school year. The proposal represents an increase of 2.74 percent over the current budget. More than half of the increase in the budget is due to increased share of teacher retirement costs passed from the state level to local districts.
The proposed operating budget does not include increases that would result from the adoption of the new support staff contract.
Cunningham said the negotiated wage increase will combine with a 20 cent-per-hour raise that employees will receive as a regular "step" increase, bringing the total raise each support staff employee will see to 90 cents per hour. He was uncertain what effect the raises would have on the overall budget, though he added that the increase brings Inter-Lakes up to the average level of compensation for support staff when compared to nearby districts.
The new health care plan, he said, was one Matthew Thornton (Anthem) enacted "as a step to next year," when the national Affordable Health Care Act will require districts to offer a plan that would cost employees no more than 9.5 percent of the lowest-paid employee's salary. The new plan doesn't quite reach that level, he said, as the district desired to avoid making the jump in one budget cycle. If the district were to fail to comply with the requirements by the time the legislation goes into effect, he said, there would be heavy fines to pay.
The Inter-Lakes School Board has scheduled a public hearing on the budget proposal on Wednesday, February 6. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium.