Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Obamacare Delay — Hours Restored for TE School District Employees for 2013-14 School Year!

Exciting news today for the TE School District aides, paraeducators and paraprofessionals — their hours have been fully restored for the 2013-14 school year! This is wonderful news for the affected employees who faced major cuts to their hours — in some cases, as much as twenty-five percent. The restoration of hours of the aides and paras to their previous level is win-win news for the students, their parents and the community!

According to an announcement on the District website this morning (see below), the District solicitor has confirmed that delay of the Affordable Care Act implementation for another year. Based on this notice, it is interesting that the policy-making decision to restore the employee hours comes from the office of the District solicitor, Ken Roos to the administration. As a result, the District has suspended the June 17 school board decision to reduce the hours of aides and paras to 27.5 hours or below. This may only be a one-year reprive for the affected employees, and they could find them in the same position a year from now, however … so much can happen in a year. For examples, the Federal government could change implementation requirements for ACA, specifically as it relates to part-time workers.

With outsourcing of aides and paras off the table for a year and the restoration of their hours, the 2013-14 school year presents an opportunity for the District to fully understand the ACA insurance requirements for their employees. Rather than reducing the hours of employees to avoid Federal compliance laws, perhaps alternatives can be explored to provide affordable health care to all District employees. In an earlier post, I mentioned the idea of a citizens group to review Obamacare and the compliance requirements during the 2013-14 school year. As we have learned, the topic is confusing and needs further study — use the ACA transition period and learn more on the topic. As more information becomes available from Washington,the Board will be better positioned to work towards compliance for the following year.

School Board Suspends June 17, 2013 Resolution to Limit Hours of Current Aides, Para-Educators and Paraprofessionals to 27.5 or Less

The hours for District aides and paraeducators will not be limited to 27.5 hours per week for the 2013-2014 school year as was previously announced. The District Solicitor has confirmed that the Treasury Department has delayed the implementation of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act relevant to the Board’s June 17 resolution directing the administration to schedule all District part-time employees, such as aides and paraeducators, for no more than 27.5 hours per week for the 2013-2014 school year to ensure that they meet the definition of part-time employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act for the 2014-2015 school year. Pursuant to the Board’s subsequent July 8 resolution, the administration is now authorized to suspend the implementation of the Board’s June 17 resolution.
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  1. good for them! Now there is a good solid 10 months to go through the process of figuring out how to offer those who deserve it health insurance.

  2. I find it ironic that the delay in implementation is met with such happiness. Can its eventual implementation be suspended permanently and we work on a better program? Even pro obama citizens must be thinking about this, at least I hope??

  3. Perhaps, they can move forward RESPONSIBLY, do their proper due-diligence , make a well thought out decision based on REAL verifiable facts.

  4. I believe in the past posting it said that these folks won’t need health insurance for the most part. They have it from their spouses coverage. They just need the working hours. They won’t sign up for the health care program, they don’t need it. So you see, this won’t cost the school district or township any money. No worries!

    1. Gary, you’d be crazy to think that the aides won’t select district insurance if offered – even if coverage from their spouse is an option – IF the same plan available to teachers becomes available to the aides. Working in the private sector and having a wife who is a teacher, I can tell you the benefits she qualifies for are far superior to what I can choose at work, and cost 70% less.

      The two reasonable scenarios, if this awful legislation is permitted to roll down next year, are 1) cut the hours, or 2) offer a minimalist plan that is far different from what the teachers have available. The latter option was discussed during an earlier posting, but there was apprehension from the district as to whether offering a separate plan would be permissible. It’s a big risk if not.

      At the end of the day it’s easy to say that the most if could account for is a few hundred thousand dollars, but the fact is we’ve already cut programs far more valuable to the general student population that cost far less.

      1. Daylesford,
        There is no need to offer a high-end plan like the admin/teachers plan. The purpose of ACA is to offer affordable healthcare–not provide it. What constitutes a quality program is nowhere near the cost of a high-end plan. The district, if it has the sense, would offer a plan that costs only what is necessary to be in compliance with the law. Anything more would be irresponsible, esp since a majority of the aides would not need coverage due to their spouse.

        1. Worker Bee,

          I completely agree with what you say. I thought I recalled earlier in the chain of events (a couple months ago perhaps) that there was comment on this blog that someone in the Administration at the Board Meetings indicated that a different, lower plan would possibly not pass muster.

          If it can be done with a lesser plan, I don’t see any reason not to.

  5. Pattye,

    Thank-you for your relentless determination and tireless devotion to this cause. This would not have happened without your leadership. Thanks for everything you do.

  6. yep I agree.. This blog is well maintained and a good place to share ideas and get a bead on whats going on in the community.

  7. Awesome news! Thank you Pattye for your excellent coverage and diligence throughout this whole situation.!

  8. This goes to show that public outcry over an issue can make a difference. Many citizens did not agree with outsourcing and some were even outraged but they didn’t get involved because they believed it wasn’t possible to make a difference.

    I am just back from the shore where I bumped into two aides while walking the beach. They are beyond happy. The difference in their attitude from just a few short months ago is easy to see. Aides are an integral part of the district instructional team. It’s important that they and all of the employees in our district are treated with respect and dignity. Our children’s daily lives depend on it.

    Neal, Joanne and especially Pattye, thank-you for your community activism. Many people have good ideas but few choose to act on them. We need more people to see that they can make a difference.

  9. haverford district aides/paras who are full time get medical insurance. An aide with a college degree can earn up to 17 dollars per hour. Source: haverford employee.

  10. What is the status on outsourcing all of the non instructional staff, custodians cafeteria, etc… The district is determined to get rid of those people. Will there be an outcry like there was with the aides?

    1. Our contract is up this year. RFP’s (requests for proposals) from companies are supposed to go out in the fall. We should probably find out their intentions by January. It will either be outsourcing or a substantial paycut, in all probability. What I feel that they are trying to do is cut-off support for the teachers’ union (before their negotiations begin) from the other union. If they get rid of TENIG, there is no solidarity. The Food and Nutrition program is TOTALLY SELF-SUSTAINING. Why would they try to fix something that’s not broken? The custodians have already taken 2 pay cuts, I believe. Hopefully, everyone will come out and back us like they did the aides/paras. The cafeteria and custodians do have daily contact with all your children.It is a big deal. Please look out for announcements./agendas for the board meetings and public discussions. If they try to sneak something through (again), it would probably be around fall/winter Holiday time when everyone is busy with other things.

  11. SS

    Maybe it would be a good idea for your President to start by getting the word out to all the TENIG employees and then start a campaign to educate citizens in the community about the consequences of outsourcing this segment.

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