Berrien RESA settles teacher contractsPublished 10:35pm Monday, June 11, 2012
The Berrien Regional Education Service Agency settled contracts with its professional and paraprofessional staff Monday during its regular board of education meeting.
Both agreements cover the next two school years and include a 1 percent increase in compensation each year.
Additionally, each agreement calls for a one-time $250 off-schedule payment for each employee. Also included in the agreements are changes to employee contributions to their health insurance premiums, resulting from legislative changes enacted by the Michigan Legislature.
“The Michigan Legislature recently imposed limits on the amount that school districts could contribute toward the cost of health and medical benefits,” said Berrien RESA Assistant Superintendent Jim Palm.
“Districts could impose a hard cap, which would limit the districts’ share to $5,500 per year for individual coverage, $11,000 per year for self and spouse, and $15,000 per year for full family coverage. Alternatively, a district, through a board resolution, could elect to pay 80 percent of the cost with the employee contributing the remaining 20 percent.”
Palm said, initially, the board was taking the position the hard cap would result in the most significant savings for the district and realized this would also burden the employees with huge increases in their contributions.
In years past, Berrien RESA’s employees have enjoyed an affordable health plan as a result of the district’s decision in 2004 to become the policyholder of a self-funded health plan. Self-funded plans can be modified to reduce benefits extensively to lower the cost of the premiums.
With that in mind, prior to the formal negotiating process, the RESA administration invited representatives from all groups to discuss and modify the self-funded plan to reduce employee costs.
The group met for six months.
Tags: Berrien RESA