Is outsourcing aides and paraeducators to avoid the cost of complying with the Affordable Care Act the right alternative for TE?

Rising pension and escalating health care costs are putting intense pressure on school districts to lower costs. Tredyffrin Easttown School District is no different and there will probably be outsourcing discussion at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.  Fueling the discussion of outsourcing TESD aides and paraeducators is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  As of January 1, public schools are required to provide health care coverage to all employees working more than 30 hours per week. The penalty for not providing health care coverage will be steep and school districts will face significant fines for noncompliance.

There are around 150 aides/paraeducators working in the District.  This group of employees is not included in the TENIG union and does not have benefits.  Although TENIG is comprised of ‘non-instructional’ workers, I wonder if it would be possible to expand their membership to include the aides and paraeducators.  There is strength in numbers; by increasing their membership could help TENIG when they fight their own outsourcing battle.

The District is currently not legally required to provide benefits to non-unionized support staff.  Based on a right-to-know request filed by Keith Knauss, it appears that this group of employees does not have healthcare coverage.  In response to Keith’s request for the benefit records of non-unionized staff, Art McDonnell’s response was, “The documents do not exist in School District records.”  I take that to mean that the non-unionized staff receives no benefits.  As a follow-up, I asked Keith about the benefits of non-union employees in Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.  His response was that none of UCF’s 250+ support employees is unionized.  However, most all are full-time and those that work 30+ hours per week receive standard benefits (healthcare, sick days, personal days, disability, life insurance).

If the interpretation of Art McDonnell’s response is correct and the aides/paraeducators do not receive health care benefits, then there is little doubt that the District is seriously considering outsourcing before the Affordable Care Act takes effect.  While outsourcing may save the District money, is it really the right option?  Special needs children and their families depend on the District aides and paraeducators.  Mainstreaming children with special needs so they may interact and share a ‘regular’ education experience is an important task.  Integral to a successful education experience is the consistency and established relationships with the support staff.  How can the School Board consider outsourcing those employees who share the most personal, one-to-one relationship with our District’s students? It makes no sense that the children who need the most consistency will be subject to “outsourced” caretakers who can feasibly change daily based upon the staffing circumstances of the outside company.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the obvious safety concerns that comes with wholesale turnover of 150 familiar District employees by outsourcing.  Is the newly hired safety consultant aware of the District’s possible outsourcing?  Have the consequences of outsourcing been thoroughly discussed by the District Safety Committee? We know that making our school buildings secure is important but so are background checks and appropriate oversight for those in contact with our children.

Is outsourcing aides and paraeducators to avoid the cost of complying with the Affordable Care Act the right alternative for TE?

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  1. As I recall, Pattye, this manoeuvre is solely a result of an artifact of the healthcare law that requires school districts to count people working 30 hours a week for 10 months as full time, while those working exactly the same hours for a contractor are part-time, and thus exempt from the requirement to receive healthcare coverage. I imagine that the intent is to have exactly the same people performing the function, just that their pay check comes from a different place.

    The issue of whether those folks should be provided with healthcare is perhaps separate. As I understand it, the healthcare benefit is not highly valued by those attracted to those jobs.

    [Reply]

    Guy Reply:

    I Agee with Ray’s supposition.

    Also, many of these para-professionals have health care under their spouse’s plan. It is quote the leap to assume that a response from the district of “…not on file..” ought be interpreted as “No”.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    yes John, the insurance argument made by ray and seconded by Guy is a non starter. How do we know? We don’t..

    [Reply]

    supportstaff Reply:

    Your assumption about healthcare benefits not being important to us is wrong. It is highly valued. Many of us are single or widows. Many of us have stayed on for years with the hope that as people moved on or retired, we would move into those few coveted positions that offered benefits. Over the past year or so, we’ve come to realize that they are eliminating these positions (as they did with transportation) and just using more part timers. While it might seem to make sense (or cents) to some, this is just not ethically right. On one hand you have people getting Cadillac health plans, perks and bonuses. On the other hand, you have people with no healthcare plan whose pay has been cut, who have no hope of even affording healthcare, now being threatened with being outsourced. The new company will probably do the same as Wal-Mart and instruct the lower wage employees how to file for Medicaid. The problem is that the district does not value it’s employees. They think that they can replace us with any “body” that can fill the space. It’s very sad that it is all your children that will suffer because of their greed. The schools are not a very happy place to be now. The atmosphere is very decisive and morale is at a low that I’ve never experienced in my 20+ years of being in different schools. There is a rift between administration/faculty and support staff that I’ve never seen before. I can’t help but feel that we’ve all lost something very precious that made us a standout district. Tredyffrin/Easttown School District R.I.P.

    [Reply]

    supportstaff Reply:

    Sorry, I meant to write divisive.

    [Reply]

    Shining Light Reply:

    Support Staff,

    I’m curious why your union has not banded together and at the very least asked taxpayers to sign a petition to abandon this plan. Quakertown is going through this now and their association got 1,500 taxpayers to sign a petition in support of custodians and cafeteria workers. (someone correct me if I’m wrong)

    I strongly disagree with you and John when you say people in TE are selfish. They are not selfish. They are unaware. A petition would at least shed some light on this issue for the good, caring people in this district who care about all employees in our schools.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    and you have dan waters, king of kings who once said they can get parent volunteers to do the job of aides… does he think he will get the same parent 5 days a week for the whole year to shadow a child? no.. so a different “volunteer” every day>? 2 per week? He has to be kidding. There are many questions that have to be answered. Sick days? Vacation days? Holidays? How does the district save over 500k the third year, and loose almost 190k the first 2 years? the days of wine and roses are over. TE school district will be very pedestrian in a few years.. at least the tennis court is safe… good luck to all..

    flyersfan Reply:

    never thought id say this, but why dont the support staff unionize? Maybe too late.. but they are exposed. And I bet the teachers knew about this outsourcing all the long..

    they way we look at this, the same gross pay will be paid over a 12 month period, so aides will be paid over the summer to make up for reduced hourly rate.. But not sure how this will affect the 30hr red line… lots of questions..
    Im ashamed of our school district. Why are we so poor all of a sudden?

  2. Temp agencies are not a special class of employers under ACA. They are subject to the same rules as any other employer. The upshot of the ACA is that there will be many more 29 hours per week jobs. This is a good article explaining the temp agency/school district situation.
    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/March/26/temporary-employees-health-law-insurance-coverage.aspx

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    This is a good article. As I read it, although temp agencies may not be a separate class of employees, they are allowed to use 12 months to average the hours:

    “The overwhelming majority of temporary help workers, even if they were working full-time on a weekly basis for a number of months, wouldn’t be covered because of that 12-month look-back period”

    The article does not discuss how that 12 month look back period would be applied to school districts, but it must be somewhat different because

    ” ….. at last year’s meeting of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators, “that was one of the hottest topics,” she said: “How this Affordable Care Act would affect school systems.””

    [Reply]

  3. More anti incentives to employment courtesy of the new health law. Hopefully it will be repealed or drastically changed as we find out it won’t work, won’t do what its supposed to do and will have many unintended consequences.. Instead of looking to HIRE people across the board in all businesses, businesses are now looking to CUT employees, to skirt the impositions placed on them by this boondoggle… good government.. right…throw “growth” out of the dictionary.

    Pattye, in your opening remarks you mentioned mainstreaming (my word) of special needs kids. For some this may work, but the sad truth in many cases is that many should not be mainstreamed… it doesn’t work for them academically nor socially. I will admit it is very difficult. I see how parents would want their kids mainstreamed, but not sure at the end of the day its the best thing for them. But it does provide a need for aides, and as you described, these aides usually stay with the kids for the duration of elementary school and do good work with them, under trying circumstances to be sure.

    [Reply]

    Guy Reply:

    1) “main-streaming” beet know as “least restrictive environment” is a legal requirement.
    2) most parents do not prefer to have their children with special needs in “non-classified” students who, despite the quest for inclusion, exclude their peers from friendships and social gatherings. THE PARENTS CAN’T AFFORD AN ALTERNATIVE.

    So, stop fighting the wrong battle. The money you want for para-professionals, aides, and their benes would ‘t be required if we weren’t trying to get “normal” students experiences with children with differences. …and using “children with differences” as the examples thus requiring the need for aides and paras.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    Guy, it is exactly because of this mainstreaming, or “using children with differences” that we need aides. No matter who mandates it. and from first hand involvement, I know stories of parents who DO want their kids in the non classified kids. But you are right, without the school district paying for private schools for special needs, it is very expensive, especially when your other kids are at Episcopal or Haverford. So rightly or wrongly, they either mainstream the kids for one reason or another, or try to have TE pay for that private school.

    [Reply]

  4. well John there is always expanded Medicaid for some.. (sarcasm)… I am in agreement with your analysis of the philosophy we are confronted with. And I am not privy to all the finances of our school district. For every family that would agree with you, there are retired folks who would eschew raising taxes for very self practical reasons. But it does seem, well unseemly, that the employees not unionized have less defense against administration and board decisions. I am curious as to why the aides aren’t in the union..
    Should they be outsourced, and wages cut, and miniscule pension ended, and less aides, more work per aide, there will be many new replacement hirees.. Just my prediction..

    [Reply]

  5. I agree that this decision stinks and I don’t like it.

    However, the SB is in a tough position – limited ability to increase revenue (ie. taxes) and costs are increasing at a greater rate. How to balance the budget?

    (side note: John et al, they can only raise taxes at the rate that the state determines. They are limited – so while you say, “One that wants super low taxes…” Doesn’t matter what we WANT unless we force a state legislature change.)

    They’ve already come up with the lowest impact options in past years – including things that DIRECTLY affect students – like increasing class size, eliminating low-attendance classes (HS electives), eliminating/reducing specials at the elementary/MS level. What now?

    I see the SB making tough decisions and they will not make everyone happy. I’m interested in alternative proposals to balance the budget, so let’s hear the ideas.

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  6. It will be an interesting discussion tonight. The Finance Committee Meeting Agenda has two pages of analysis of Outsourcing included (one for Aides and ParaEducators and one for substitutes). The Outsource “fee” is 22.5% of wages and the Outsource provider will pay “all benefits” out of this fee. Not sure what benefits we’re talking about if the affected group does not have benefits. The results of the analysis show an increased cost to the District in the first two years of the arrangement for the First group with a larger savings in year three. For the Second and smaller group (substitutes), there is a net cost in each of the three years.
    I assume that this indicates that every employee stays in their respective job but it’s not clear from the analysis. Not sure what “benefits” employees will receive under Outsource or whether they are more or less than what they currently receive. More questions than answers until we can hear the presentation tonight. However, this analysis would argue for the economics of not Outsourcing although I don’t understand the big year 3 savings for Aides/Para’s. Doesn’t seem like the District is avoiding anything cost-wise but I don’t know if the “costs” in the analysis include the new ADA fine or benefits requirements. Again, more questions than answers so far…

    [Reply]

  7. A few bullet points from the FC meeting:

    1) For the full year 2012/13, revenues are expected to approximate the $109 million budget, but the administration has yet to do the analysis (10/12 of the year complete ….) to project expenses. There’s an indication that healthcare costs may be higher than initial expectations. The Committee pushed for data at its next meeting on 6/10 to inform the Board’s final budget approval process on 6/17.

    2) The outsourcing strategy has many nuances, not all clearly explained. The issue was passed to the next Board meeting for approval, hopefully with more detail and consideration of the human impact than was apparent tonight. Thanks to Mrs Crowley for making sure the item was not – cliché alert – buried in the Consent Agenda.

    Factors at play here: avoiding PSERS cost increase spike, allowing aides and paras to claim unemployment during summer months, and avoiding ACA requirements particularly for subs who work 30 hours for the school year. The intent is to retain as many of the existing staff as want to keep working for the district, with a not-material impact on individual compensation. Coming out of PSERS will save the employee 7.5% which could be directed into the outsourcer-provided 401k. The district will retain hiring approval and salary determination.

    Employees, the Board and the community deserve a clearer explanation prior to final approval.

    3). The tax-exempt property review process seems to have foundered. The response rate (now just after the 5/1 due date for the not-so-clearly-voluntary questionnaire) is about one third, of which about two thirds are “complete”. The Committee has no appetite for allocating the resources to chase non-responders, or to simply pursue any of the responders about which they may have questions. The exit strategy from this mess is to look for the County or an Agency such as the IU to take over the analysis, and to so communicate to the non-profits. Look for carefully worded letters in the mail soon!

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Re outsourcing —

    Employees, the Board and the community deserve a clearer explanation prior to final approval.

    I could not agree more Ray! At last night’s Finance Committee meeting, we learned that the District met with 5 different outsourcing vendors and recommended STS (Substitute Teacher Service) for outsourcing aides and paraeducators.

    Although it was stated that the District would ‘encourage’ STS to hire the TE’s current aides/paras, when I asked if the contract could be written to include our employees, the response was no. I asked the School Board if outsourcing occurs, will the employees be paid the same as they are currently earn — the answer was no, they would be paid less. However, later it was stated by Dan Waters, that because the employees would not pay PSERS, they would actually make more money. Although it was stated that the District will approve the STS employees, I remain concerned if our current employees will keep their current jobs with STS. Here’s the example — it was stated that STS will pay a higher salary to aides/paras working in TESD than say Phoenixville where STS is the outsourcing company for aides/paras. My question to the Board was what was to keep an STS employee with seniority (who happens to be an aid in Phoenixville) from bumping one of the aides in TESD? Art McDonnell’s response was that they would retain approval of the employees. I am not confident that this is going to work as easy as he would have us believe. I clarified that none of the aides and paraeducators receive healthcare benefits. And we know that come January, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the District will be required to provide healthcare benefits to all workers who work 30 or more hours per week. The School Board denied that the Affordable Care Act was the impetus for outsourcing but offered that it was PSERS that was behind this cost-cutting measure.

    It was crystal clear that the plan is to outsource the 175 aides and paraeducators at the next School Board meeting on Monday, May 13. The initial plan discussed last night was for the outsourcing to appear on a consent agenda. I couldn’t believe that they after the administrator raises were buried in the District’s February consent agenda, that they were set to do the same thing again! The consent agenda is supposed to be for routine matters (approval of minutes,etc) and what about outsourcing is routine? Thanks to Ann Crowley, outsourcing will not be on the consent agenda but will be listed for ‘priority discussion’. In addition to the aides and paraeducators, the recommendation is to also outsource the substitute teachers to STS. The STS agreement with the substitute teachers is separate from the aides/paraeducators.

    The proposed outsourcing agreements with STS will be for three years.

    [Reply]

  8. John, thank you so much for putting it so eloquently. You’ve said exactly what I was trying to get across. You get it!!! Unfortunately, we live in a very selfish area (I’m a native, so therefore,not rich) and people can’t see beyond their own pockets. Makes me very sad…

    [Reply]

    Sleeping Giant Reply:

    Support Staff,

    We have learned from Glen Hardie community residents that the Administrators and School Board Directors are afraid of and will respond to taxpaying voting citizens. It took only a little over 200 signatures on a petition, 40 people to show up at one committee meeting and some phone calls to turn that around. Why do you think they want to hide these things in consent agendas? It isn’t because they think they’ll get majority support from the public.

    Thank-you Mrs. Crowley for your continued courage and committment to putting the best interest of the children and tax payer first by making sure this very important vote does not get buried in a consent agenda like raises and bonuses for administrators who already make way more than double the national average according to Keith’s article from Georgetown University. According to Keith’s article on page 12, an experienced college graduate with a degree in chemical engineering makes $91,000. Compare this salary with salaries of the administrators in TE who are now beating the drum to outsource the segment with the least amount of power and who make the least amount in wages. Keith also said these raises are justified because they are commensurate with salaries and wages in the private sector. Keith, a sitting school board director in Unionville Chadsford, has also recently stated that the line “putting the best interests of the children and taxpayer first” is imeaningless. It is clearly meaningless to many School Board Directors in TE as well.

    The TESD Business Manager, Art McDonnell, rsponded to Neal’s request for information at a finance committee meeting saying they don’t want “signs at their meetings” as a valid reason for not answering Neal’s question. This is an unacceptable and inappropriate response, Support Staff, Make signs and carry them at the finance committee meetings. Educate citizens by getting them to sign a petition. The administrators and Board Members don’t like waves. Make waves. What do you have to lose? Your job?

    School Board Directors and Administrators are afraid of the Sleeping Giant.

    Wake the Sleeping Giant.

    (I am also Shining Light)

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    “Least amount of power and who make the lowest wages.”…that says a lot.. So if a small segment of the community can save a tennis court that serves only that very small segment of said community, it would be ironic if this community doesn’t come to the aid of the lower wage earners about to be cut like limburger cheese.. Smells.

    [Reply]

    Sleeping Giant Reply:

    Yes, I agree. That’s why I encourage support staff to motivate tax payers to voice their opinions on the matter by petitions, committee meetings, signs and phone calls.

    Was it PennCrest support staff association who posted yellow signs on streets and roads?

    [Reply]

  9. Pattye mentioned, ” The School Board denied that the Affordable Care Act was the impetus for outsourcing but offered that it was PSERS that was behind this cost-cutting measure.”
    .
    The figures don’t seem to support that conclusion. The district’s own numbers tell us that for the initial two years, a switch to STS will actually be more expensive even while PSERS contributions are soaring. Only in the 3rd year does STS provide a similar service at a lower price than the district. Why? What’s different about the 3rd year? I speculate that this is the first year that TE would have to deal with support staff workers under the PPACA laws.
    .
    The PPACA laws are in flux and complicated – very complicated. From what I’ve read, temp agencies have an advantage over standard companies because of the way penalties are calculated. Temp agencies can and will pay a penalty rather than provide insurance for two reasons. One, paying the penalty is cheaper than providing insurance. Two, even if the temp agency wanted to provide coverage, no insurance company will underwrite the policy because of the transitory (high risk) nature of the workforce.
    .
    This statement is interesting, “However, later it was stated by Dan Waters, that because the employees would not pay PSERS, they would actually make more money.” This is misleading. The employee, in no way, is making more money. They are losing money. Why? Currently, the employee contributes 7.5% of their salary to the PSERS. The district contributes an additional 12.38% of their salary to PSERS. When the employee moves to a temp agency that 7.5% will show up in their paycheck rather than going to PSERS. That’s neither a gain nor a loss. But the employee loses the 12.38% contribution from the district That is a loss

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Keith — Yep, in the course of the same discussion it went from the aides/paraeducators making less if outsourced to Dan Waters stating that they would be making more. According to the slide labeled “Analysis of Outsourcing of Aides & Paraeducators” the cost to the District is 22.5% of actual wages paid to aides and paraeducators”. If the aides and paraeducators are outsourced to STS, the “increased costs to the District in Year One is $126,307 and Year Two is $59,678”. The “projected savings to District in Year Three is $528,544. According to the slide labeled “Analysis of Outsourcing of Substitute Teachers”, “the cost to the District is 22.5% of actual wages paid to substitutes.” If the substitute teachers are outsourced to STS, the “increased costs to District in Year One is $75,500, Year Two is $60,112 and Year Three is $44,275”. Because it’s a 3 year agreement, there was no indication as to when the savings occurred — I believe Ray asked this question and was told the savings to the District would occur in Year Six. I was completely confused by the explanation of outsourcing last night. Ray asked for more detail to be given at the School Board meeting but it was questionable whether that will happen — after all, their original intention was to include the outsourcing in a consent agreement.

    There’s something else and maybe you can offer some insight. I had an email from a paraeducator today who offered another interesting twist and one that was not discussed at all last night. The paraeducator explained that he/she was on the verge of being vested in the pension fund. If the School Board approves the outsourcing, the para states that if he/she is not vested, the District “will need to pay back all of the money plus interest that has accrued in the last 5 years”. He/she further asks me if this expense was taken into account when the Board calculated the pros and cons of outsourcing. There was no discussion at the meeting last night that addressed this issue. All so confusing … further comments welcomed.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    A fundamental issue here is that we are indeed left to speculate about how the numbers presented on Monday were derived. We have an administration unused to communicating or paying attention to residents and employees and factions of the Board, typified by Dr Motel in the meeting, that cares only about the bottom line, not how it is derived.

    Maybe the proposed arrangement with STS is the best response by the district to PPACA, PSERS, or whatever other acronym is in play here. Maybe the impact on employees has been fully considered. Maybe the Board will demand more clarity. Let’s see if Mrs Crowley can force the issue as her retirement present to us.

    Just one comment about exiting from PSERS – the fund may be losing the 12%-and-rising district contribution, but much of that is simply funding past liabilities. The impact on the employee is the difference between what will be earned by their 7.5% 401k contribution (and is there the possibility of a STS match?) and what would have been the PSERS pension. Not to say that is not a take-away, but perhaps not as stark as it might appear. Any vesting issue is another matter.

    [Reply]

  10. Pattye if not vested I thought the employee would lose the pension, at least the portion the school puts in. more confusion.. frankly Im ready to move to southern florida. Forgive me but it appears this sts stuff is a direct result of the trickle down of Obamacare, a boondoggle even max baucus said will be a train wreck… Here comes the train.

    [Reply]

    SupportStaff Reply:

    I think flyersfan is correct. My understanding is if you haven’t worked enough years to be vested for pension, you would get back the portion that YOU paid in, not what the district had contributed. Stinks….

    [Reply]

  11. Well, what should TESD do?
    .
    There are a few choices. Option 1 is the currently contemplated STS solution. Option 2 is the minimum in-house solution required of the district under PPACA rules. Option 3 is what UCF currently offers.

    1. Outsource to STS at a cost of $22,000 per employee ($18K salary +$4K to STS). Total cost to the taxpayers = $3.3M
    .
    2. Stay in-house with minimal healthcare coverage at a cost of $26,000 ($18K salary, $1.5K FICA, $1.5K PSERS, $5K healthcare). Total cost to the taxpayers = $3.9M
    .
    3. Stay in-house with the current TE healthcare plan at a cost of $31,000 ($18K salary, $1.5K FICA, $1.5K PSERS, $10K healthcare) Total cost to the taxpayers = $4.7M

    [Reply]

  12. Citizens in TE should demand full disclosure. Administrators should not feel so comfortable in their power they say to taxpaying citizens “we don’t want signs at our meetings.” as a valid reason for not anwering questions.

    You should give a complete financial analysis on Aministrator pay and benefits and how it would effect our district if we got their pay in line with the private sector.

    We should find out how much the ERB’s are costing our district. (If you want to label something meaningless, those tests are meaningless.) What would that cost savings contribute to the bottom line.

    That would be a good start. Thanks for asking

    [Reply]

  13. The horse is out of the barn and unfortunately cannot be put back. This is what we (conservative voters) all warned would happen before the election. Yes, I AM saying “I told you so”. This is just the tip of the iceberg – you will see this trend starting now thru the year and beyond across all industries. Hang on tight and save your $$$ – it’s going to get worse. The best business to be in will be the “employee outsourcing business”.

    [Reply]

  14. The school district is not “an industry.” School district procedures in no way reflect how the labor market works in the private sector. Industry does not have a pile of money at it’s disposal to do with what it pleases. Employees are unable to grant themselves raises and bonuses at their own discretion. Upper level executive management positions are being elliminated across all sectors in most industries. These employees are not only not granting themselves raises and bonuses, they are losing their jobs (Astrazeneca, LockHeed Martin and IBM just to name a few in this area alone) and I can guarantee you, employees do not speak to those in charge the way administrators speak to us. Board members post committee meeting times and encourage citizens to come (probably because it is mandated that they do so) yet when we do come, we are not given information and told “we do not want signs at our meetings” as reasons for not allowing citizen participation. They say they want you to come, but their actions indicate they really don’t want citizens to come and don’t want citizen participation.

    The horse would go back in the barn in an instant if citizen taxpayers would band together like Glen Hardie residents did in the case of the tennis courts. I think that tax payers forget who really has the power.

    You’re the first Paoli mom I’ve heard from who thinks this way. Every Paoli mom I’ve talked to thinks it’s wrong that support staff is being outsourced and they think it’s wrong that school board directors allowed raises and bonuses to be granted to administrators

    As far as the best business to be in? That would be an administrator in our school district. I know of no position that holds the unchecked power and independance these people enjoy.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    To clarify, the residents may have influenced the School District from demolishing the tennis courts as originally scheduled but the matter is not yet resolved. The School District submitted their application to the township Zoning Hearing Board and the appeal will be head on May 23.

    [Reply]

  15. paolimom says “we got what we asked for.” I guess that is a shot at Obamacare. Guess what. We SHOULD give ALL employees health care. Period. What kind of world is this when we ask people to take care of our children, but then deny them basic health care? The same kind of world where administrators can get a $300k payout!

    CHS RELIES on aides and paraeducators to support the staff. I am sure that we will lose a large percentage of people. I dropped off my daughter at school today and was talking to two of the aides. They are despondent. They think nobody cares about them.

    Maybe no one does.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    tetaxpayer… I am not sure we should give all employees healthcare.. If you mean provide a mechanism for them to share in the costs of health insurance, then maybe. In this perverted system of employer based purchasing, this is the way its done. But I am leery of giving anyone anything, the way you worded it. But you are right about one thing… the aides and paraeducators are the weak link in the food chain here so they are expendable. Some are not professionally educated, and Waters figures they can be replaced bycheaperolks at the bottom of the pyramid. Maybe some positions are easier to fill than others on this bottom feeder rung. But I can’t wait to hear complaints from parents with kids with special needs who have a revolving door of aides. For the kids I hope this isn’t going to happen. But I wonder what the face of the new employees will look like, metaphorically.

    by the way, if you think this isnt about obamacare, at least in good part, you are deceiving yourself. No matter what is said. The chicken has come home to roost.. This is happening all over the country, private and public business. Why do you think unemployment is so high, and higher when considering those that stopped looking. Maybe you voted for Obama and that is your prerogative. But it is also your prerogative to admit mistake, if that is the case. Consequences..elections have consequences..

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    “by cheaper folks”.. sorry

    [Reply]

    aideperson Reply:

    As an aide myself, I can attest that all the aides I know have at least one degree from college, and several have education degrees. To understand what this outsourcing plan could do to the environment for Special Ed students you have to be on the inside. The aides work together with the teachers, both in the Support rooms and in the regular classrooms to promote the success of the students. Special Ed teachers spend 50% of their time doing constantly increasing amounts of paperwork, making the aides and their knowledge of the students and how the school works essential. We risk losing all that valuable experience; the problem is it is difficult to put a price on experience (except maybe if you are an administrator).

    The School Board has recieved no guarantee that the same staff will be able to come back, only that they can approve/reject (is there a limit to these in the contract?) the ones sent out by the outsourcing company. The statement that the pay will be the same is ridiculous. The outsourcing company does not grant sick days, holidays or contribute 12.5% to a pension fund. All the aides that have been in the district for any length of time will lose all the sick days that they accrued and that were part of their compensation. Not only would the aides be earning less, they will have a large amount of promised benefits STOLEN from them if this goes through.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    this school district has hit a new low.. So glad my kids are out. And in a few years I will be out too, from this place.

    But I will be around to vote for now, and it is high time most of these folks, the ones not retiring ( smart move to retire) get booted. New folks, Republicans and Democrats alike, cannot be any worse..

    cant wait for the teachers to do MORE work. They will have to. and the aide above is absolutely correct about the education level of the aides, and the roles they play in working with the teacher in classroom and others in support of the special needs student… They deserve MORE money, not less… but the healthcare is an issue, coming up.. How many aides voted for an administration that put this into effect? Would you like your vote back?

    Keith Knauss Reply:

    aideperson,
    .
    Do the aides get sick days? And if they do, how many do they get? Is this written down anywhere? I’m interested because the district says there is no document describing benefits for aides and para.

  16. looks like outsourcing is a reality. Can anyone tell me when teachers will be employed by a contract company? It may be coming.. and I look forward to teachers doing more work NOW! As aides attrition out this will get interesting..

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  17. Is TESD the only district in PA doing this? Isn’t this a national problem? PA is just worse because we allow teachers to strike for wages, and we don’t allow boards to raise taxes above a minimum.
    Does anyone here think this is worthy of a referendum? THis isn’t the board’s money….but they are limited in how they can spend it. Would some of the more passionate here be willing to go to the streets to get a referendum option to raise taxes and retain the current program? And FF — do we even know who is running in Easttown? No one wants these jobs. The US Senate is losing more members than ever in history….people just don’t want the hassle in a failing economy.

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  18. This is all about money. Normally responsible management would be considering alternative solutions. Are they?

    Perhaps a solution could be implementing the Earned Income Tax that could stabilize the budget and shift some of the school tax burden away from property tax?

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    SupportStaff Reply:

    Are you kidding? (sarcasm) The Board addressed this a couple of times before and for whatever reason, they will never vote it through.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    yes and the EIT was the pot of gold for the teachers to crab in their last negotiations. I don’t know if aides/paras are unionized in other districts. But it may make a difference.
    Shame shame.muddy waters…

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  19. this situation has not been on the communities radar, doesn’t effect most of us and that is why it is easy to dump on these underpaid and invaluable aides and paraeducators.\\

    I am waiting for the time when the teachers will be employed by an outsourcing firm. I will not have sympathy for them.

    This is about healthcare, and not about payroll nor other benefits. So no amount of eit will be sufficient to cover healthcare costs imposed by the idiots in washington. you could look it up!

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  20. Aides and Paraprofessionals get about one sick day for every month of work, and they are awarded in a lump sum at the end of the year I think. Personnel at the Administrative Offices should know the precise formula. They add up year on year, but cannot be transferred when you leave to another person as some places do.

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