Lakeview schools save $400,000 with insurance switch

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 5:01 pm on Wednesday, September 07, 2011

LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Community Schools Board of Education and Lakeview Education Association (LEA) recently reached an insurance agreement which will save the district about $400,000.
Administrative and teaching staff will be switching from MESSA to Simply Blue Health as part of a collective bargaining agreement, according to Superintendent Kyle Hamlin.
Administrators and teachers will be paying 10 percent of overall insurance premium costs for the 2011-2012 school year. Administrators and teachers will then begin paying 20 percent for the remainder of the contractual agreement, which runs through 2014.
Additionally, each employee will be responsible for a deductible. Employees who elect to receive two-person or family coverage will be subject to a $2,500 dollar deductible. A single coverage employee will be responsible for a deductible of $1,250.
The school board and the LEA also agreed to wage and step freezes for all three years of the contract.
“We will be establishing an insurance committee to research insurance options on a yearly basis,” Hamlin said. “This committee will be made up of myself, support staff, teachers and administration. This is not a collection of negotiating team members. This committee will make recommendations to the negotiating teams on their findings. The negotiating teams will make the final determination on whether the recommendation is binding.”
LEA President Pam Behrenwald is an elementary music teacher for Lakeview Community Schools.
“While we are not excited about the changes in state laws and declining student numbers which resulted in this agreement, we do understand we are a piece of a bigger, more important puzzle, which is to effectively educate our children and to allow them a safe and nurturing environment to learn and grow,” Behrenwald said. “We are happy to be here at Lakeview and hope that better financial times are on the way for our community.”
Lakeview’s support staff has a contact through June 2012, so they will not be making any insurance changes for now. However, Hamlin said preliminary discussions have taken place regarding insurance changes for all school staff.
“I would like to thank our teaching staff, along with our support staff and administration, in recognizing the challenging economic times that our district is facing,” Hamlin said. “This is another testament to the dedicated employees we have in this district. This shared sacrifice allows us to keep programs and activities intact for our students.”

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