Friday, May 12, 2017

VSBA Alert: Senate Approves Ashe Amendment - Governor Still Seeks Compromise - UPDATED

Dear School Board Member,
NOTE: This email has been updated with the correct Senate vote tally. 

This morning, the Senate approved the Ashe amendment by a vote of 20-9. The amendment, which we told you about yesterday, shorts the payment that a district receives from the Education Fund by an amount determined by the state to be desired savings from healthcare negotiations, whether the savings were actually realized or not. It also establishes a Commission to study health insurance and labor relations for school employees.
This afternoon, the Governor held a press conference where he responded to the Senate action. He stated that he is continuing to work with the House and Senate leadership on a compromise to bring the legislative session to a close. The Governor did make clear, however, that the Ashe amendment does not meet his goals of maximizing long-term health care savings, establishing a more uniform health benefit statewide, and relieving pressure from school boards at the bargaining table. He also expressed concerns that the Ashe amendment places more pressure on school boards to find savings one way or another, but not necessarily from health care costs.
It is not likely that the House will vote on the provision today.  We expect the Legislature to adjourn soon and return for more negotiations with the Governor next week.  This is a testament to all the communications members of the House received from you over the past 24 hours.
Thank you for making your voice heard on these important matters.

Nicole L. Mace
Executive Director
Vermont School Boards Association
(802) 223-3580

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