Scott Girard: At the same time, MMSD has increased base pay more than surrounding districts in recent years, according to the presentation. Board members said maintaining that competitive advantage in recruitment is important. “Our health care is one of the biggest elements of competitiveness for staff in the area,” Toews said. “It’s an area I … Continue reading Madison School Board members want to keep staff with current health insurance provider, add deductible
Logan Wroge: Increasing the amount staff pay for premiums would see teachers paying 6% of a HMO family plan — up from 3% — to about $44 more a month. Certain hourly employees, such as special education assistants, would pay 2.5% of an HMO family plan instead of 1.25%, or $8.53 more per month. Scott … Continue reading Madison School Board leans toward deductibles instead of switching health insurers
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will discuss the potential November referenda and proposed employee health insurance changes Monday. The Operations Work Group meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St., is likely the last opportunity for board members to ask for broad changes ahead of anticipated votes … Continue reading Employee health insurance, referenda discussions on Madison School Board agenda Monday
Logan Wroge: According to MTI’s memo, health insurance changes under consideration include: Moving future retirees from health insurance plans offered through the district to the state Department of Employee Trust Funds’ Local Annuitant Health Program, a relatively new program for retired public employees. Increasing employee premium contributions for teachers and other employees from 3% to … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s healthcare costs
Mark Sommerhauser: Wisconsin school districts ratcheted up health care costs on teachers and other employees after the state’s Act 10 collective bargaining changes, with the average district now requiring teachers to pay about 12 percent of their health insurance premiums, newly released data show. Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now … Continue reading Wisconsin Act 10 Commentary: Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now require for teacher health insurance premium contributions, at 3 percent,
Annys Johnson: The school board’s Committee on Accountability, Finance and Personnel will take up two other cost-saving proposals on Tuesday, including one to restructure employee health care benefits. According to the administration’s analysis, that proposal would save up to $17.4 million by: Eliminating coverage of spouses who have access to insurance elsewhere or charge employees … Continue reading Milwaukee schools braces for bruising budget battle; busing services, health care benefits could be pared
Matt Barnum: Others say the issue is one of priorities, pointing to big increases in nonteaching school staff, like aides, custodians, and counselors, and greater teacher retirement costs. Higher pay means teachers are more likely to stay in the classroom. That’s linked to increased student achievement. There’s a lot of variation in how much teachers … Continue reading On Teacher Compensation (Madison Spent 25% of its budget on benefits in 2014-2015)
Sarah Kliff: On September 28, 2016, a 3-year-old girl named Elodie Fowler slid into an MRI machine at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California. Doctors wanted to better understand a rare genetic condition that was causing swelling along the right side of her body and problems processing regular food. The scan took about … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending climate: Opaque and sky high bills are breaking Americans — and our health care system.
Swinn: Premiums for employment-based health insurance this year will average about $6,400 for single coverage and $15,500 for family coverage, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation. In a new report, the CBO says average premiums for individually purchased insurance are also high, although not quite as … Continue reading K-12 Tax And Spending Climate: Report Warns of Rising Health Insurance Premiums (25% Of Madison’s 2014-2015 Budget Spent On Benefits)
Yevgeny Feyman, via a kind reader: Last year, as part of a contract deal with the teachers’ union, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he and the city’s unions had agreed to cut $3.4 billion in worker health-care costs over four years. Even with these “savings,” though, Gotham’s health-insurance spending is projected to grow 6 … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: New York City taxpayers are headed for a collision with the ACA’s Cadillac Tax on high-cost health plans.
Daniel DiSalvo: This report argues that underfunded defined-benefit pension plans and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) are the hidden drivers of labor unrest in the public sector. As these legacy costs have risen, teacher salaries have flatlined or even declined in value. Policy recommendations: In the name of equity and affordability, states should move away from … Continue reading Teacher Strikes and Legacy K-12 (benefit) Costs
Chris Reed: In August 2009, at a seminar in Sacramento sponsored by the Public Retirement Journal, the chief actuary of the California Public Employees’ Retirement system — who thought he was at a closed event with no media present — made a grim, startling pronouncement that was unlike anything ever said publicly by his bosses … Continue reading Here’s how the L.A. teachers’ strike is part of California unions’ pension preservation plot
Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner: You’d be mistaken to think Harvey, Illinois has a unique pension crisis. It may be the first, and its problems may be the most severe, but the reality is the mess is everywhere, from East St. Louis to Rockford and from Quincy to Danville. A review of Illinois Department of … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Harvey, the first domino in Illinois: Data shows 400 other pension funds could trigger garnishment
Rutland Herald: Former Gov. Peter Shumlin sought to create the single-payer system, known as Green Mountain Care, but eventually walked away from the plan after determining it would cost too much. The attorney general’s office’s began the investigation into Gruber’s billing after receiving a referral by State Auditor Doug Hoffer. Donovan said Thursday his office … Continue reading K-12 Tax & spending climate: benefit costs and Dr. Jonathan Gruber
Molly Beck: The law, known as Act 10, required local governments who offer a state health insurance plan to their employees to pay no more than 88 percent of the average premiums. Walker’s 2017-19 state budget will now require the same of all school districts, regardless of which health insurance plans they offer. That spells … Continue reading Commentary on Redistributed State Tax Dollars and Madison’s $450M+ School Budget ($18k/student)
Tony Evers (PDF): 1. Why are you running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction? I’ve been an educator all my adult life. I grew up in small town Plymouth, WI. Worked at a canning factory in high school, put myself through college, and married my kindergarten sweetheart, Kathy-also a teacher. I taught and became a … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Tony Evers Responds to Madison Teachers’ Questions
To be clear, I’m making an argument that’s different from “Government workers are overpaid.” I’m saying that they are paid in the wrong ways — in ways that make life easier on union leaders and elected officials, at least initially, but that eventually hurt both workers and taxpayers.
The best example is health insurance. Health plans for union workers and retirees are much more likely to require little or no co-payment, which leads to lots of medical treatments that don’t make people any healthier, and to huge costs. Ultimately, some of these plans will probably prove so expensive as to be unsustainable. Workers would have been better off accepting a less generous benefit package and slightly higher salaries.
The solution today is not to cut both the pay and the benefits of public workers, as would happen if workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere lost their right to bargain. Remember, public workers don’t get especially generous salaries. The solution is to get rid of the deferred benefits that make no sense — the wasteful health plans, the pensions that start at age 55 and still let retirees draw a full salary elsewhere, the definitions of disability that treat herniated discs as incurable.