Teachers to pay more toward insurance

JACKSON, Mich. — Teachers in Homer and East Jackson have agreed to pay more toward their health insurance in a move likely related to the state’s offer to give districts $100 more per student if they meet certain fiscal “best practices,” The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported.

Homer teachers will pay 15 percent of their health insurance premiums, up from about 4 percent, Superintendent Rob Ridgeway said, according to The Citizen Patriot, and East Jackson teachers will pay 20 percent.

An earlier study by The Citizen Patriot showed that many area school employees have contributed 5 percent or less toward their premiums, which range in cost from $17,000 to $21,000 annually per employee.

The 2012 state budget offers school districts an additional $100 per student if they meet four of five “best practices,” among them requiring school employees to pay at least 10 percent of their health care premiums, The Citizen Patriot reported.

Jon Harmon, a regional director for the Michigan Education Association in Jackson, told The Citizen Patriot that unions aren’t required to agree to contribution increases, since districts only need to adopt four of the five practices in order to get the extra funding. That issue would likely be debated during collective bargaining, he said, according to The Citizen Patriot.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, “Some area teacher unions are agreeing to pay a greater percentage of their health care premiums,” June 21, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Controlling School Health Insurance Costs, Local Style,” April 4, 2011