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St. Croix Central School Board discusses health insurance plan

St. Croix Central School Board discussed various health insurance plan options for staff at its regular meeting on Monday, June 20.

Under Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget plan, which would cut revenue limits by 5.5 percent, SCC will receive $725,000 less in 2011-12.

According to District Administrator David Bradley employees begin paying for budget cuts (by contributing 5.8 percent to the Wisconsin Retirement System) to schools starting July 1 for 12-month staff and Sept. 1 for teaching staff and 9-month staff with expired contracts.

At the board meeting Bradley said the district's insurance committee, which in essence is an advisory committee, has been looking at different insurance plan options for next fall with the idea of changing plans on Sept. 1.

Currently, the district has around 105 people using its health insurance. In a recent survey 64 staff members responded to questions about their insurance plan preferences.

The three plans included in the survey were the district's current design plan, which includes a $100 or $200 deductible (depending on single of family coverage) and a 12.6 percent deduction from the employees paycheck; Plan A: Which includes a $250 or $500 deductible with a 6.6 percent deduction from paycheck; or Plan B: With a $1,000 or $2,000 deductible but zero percent deducted from paycheck.

According to a report by Bradley and District Accountant Jen Kleschold: Three staff members picked the current plan as their top choice, 18 picked Plan A as their top choice and 32 chose Plan B as their top choice. Initially it seemed that Plan B was the top choice, but Bradley said due to some staff not answering all the questions and 11 staff members saying they didn't really want Plan B, he feels that the insurance committee needs further discussion before the board makes a final decision on what plan to choose.

"To me there's not a clear cut preference," he said. 

Information Bradley and Kleschold provided to staff at meetings on May 31, June 1 and June 2, said "If we make no change to our insurance pan, employees who take family insurance will lose $2,700 next year out of their paychecks. That money is gone; there is 'zero' chance of getting any of it back. For those who take single it will be $1,200 per year.  If we made the switch to Plan B, employees could keep that $2,700 (family) or $1,200 (single) in their salaries. What you didn't use on health care would be extra money in your pocket." Plan A would allow employees to keep $1,280 of the $2,700 (family) or $570 of the $1,200 (single) in their salaries. Money not used on healthcare would be extra money in the employee's pocket.  

While Plan B saves 12.6 percent on premiums, Plan A would save only 5.99 percent of the premium.

The information also included other options for employees to redirect or save money for healthcare.

The board must make a decision before Aug. 1. Bradley said the district has to give 30-days advanced notice to WEA Trust to change plans, so he hopes the insurance committee can make a clear cut decision in the near future as he would like the board to make a decision at the July regular board meeting.

Board member John Hueg said, "There are questions that have to be answered along with this. It's not only which plan is selected; it's also 'what is the contribution amount to us as a district?'"

Bradley said he believed that if the district chose Plan B, the district and employees would pay the same percentage towards their health insurance that they're currently paying

Bradley told the board that any savings (up to 12.6 percent) due to changing health insurance plans could offset the amount employees have to pay toward their health insurance.

While Bradley is willing to meet with the insurance committee again, he said he's leaning toward recommending the board choose insurance Plan B.

Bradley suggested the insurance committee meet again before the board makes a decision at the July board meeting.

In other news:

-The board approved the curricular modification requests for 19 high school students to enroll in 25 Wisconsin Virtual School courses for 2011-12.

-The board approved the renewal of the contract with Marsden Building Maintenance, for custodial services in the district.

-Approved renewing contract with McKinstry for energy management.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(715) 426-1048