Thursday, May 11, 2017

VSBA Action Alert: Legislature Poised to Pull $13M out of Local Budgets

Dear School Board Member,

We just learned that negotiations between the House and Senate leadership and the Governor have not yielded an agreement on school employee health insurance.  Instead, the House and Senate leadership intend to move forward with a proposal to take $13 million out of school district budgets and have school boards continue to negotiate health insurance.

You can read about the proposal, which was developed by Senator Tim Ashe here.  The specifics may be revealed later today, but the thrust is that the state will take $13 million from school district budgets in a manner proportional to the number of "covered lives" in a school district.

Last night, the Governor issued a response to this proposal, which you can read here.

We believe the proposal from the House and Senate leadership is disrespectful to the school boards, educators and taxpayers of this state.  Vermont’s education system depends on a partnership between state and local officials.  Progress on shared goals should be accomplished through collaboration.  In that spirit, the Vermont School Boards Association and Vermont Superintendents Association developed a proposal to establish a statewide health insurance benefit in order to assist the state in its quest to achieve property tax relief without damaging education quality.  The proposal would both reduce costs and protect employees and their families.

Rather than take responsibility for PreK-12 cost growth by playing a role in negotiating health insurance benefits with school employees, the House and Senate are poised to take financial resources from school district budgets and leave school boards and taxpayers holding the bag.

Please act now to urge your senators and representatives to reject this proposal that has Montpelier taking money from school districts without taking any responsibility for assisting with cost containment.  AND ask them to convey your concerns to House Speaker Mitzi Johnson and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe.

You may find a list of representatives and senators by SU here.


Published By:
Vermont School Boards Association and
Vermont Superintendents Association
Attn: Emily Simmons, 2 Prospect St., Montpelier, VT 05602 (802)-223-358

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