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Report on teacher negotiation bargaining

• HEALTH INSURANCE

All school boards in Vermont have been asked by state officials to increase teacher contributions toward health insurance premiums to 20%. Most taxpayers in the state pay about 20% for their insurance. In fact, even the union employees for the State of Vermont have been paying 20% for their insurance for over 20 years.

Currently, our teachers contribute only 10% toward their insurance premium costs. This amounts to $1,722 per year for family coverage (or $66.23 per paycheck) and only $654 per year for the teacher's own coverage.

The Boards had proposed that teachers increase their contribution to 20%. However, in a final effort to reach a settlement, the Boards offered to compromise and are now asking that teachers contribute only 15% toward their current insurance plan.

Depending on whether the teacher has single or family coverage, this will increase teacher costs by between $326 and $862 per year (or between $12.55 and $33.15 per paycheck). Please keep in mind that the vast majority of our teachers are receiving salary increases of $1,606 this year. This increase would not begin until February 1, 2011, so teachers would be paying the increased amount for five months of this school year.

The Union does not want to accept any increase in the teacher contribution percentage.

The paraprofessionals in our districts pay far more for their health insurance, while earning much lower salaries. Most of them pay 23% of their premium cost and some pay 30% or more. We think it is reasonable to ask our teachers to pay 15%.

The Boards believe that they have compromised significantly. We have presented a fair and final offer to the Union. It is our sincere hope that the teachers will also recognize that, in these economic times, this is a reasonable offer.

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