Insurance Conflict

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Just when the school year went off without a hitch the rest of the Rockford Public School district's year is again in jeopardy. Tuesday night a special board meeting has been called and the outcome could affect the entire district and all of us taxpayers.

Health insurance adjustments could put the Rockford teachers deal in danger. A vote on a memorandum of understanding already forced two school board members, Jay Nellis and Mike Williams to walk out. So a special meeting has been called for Tuesday night. But now the question arises, was everything out in the open during teacher negotiations. According to board member David Kelly the answer is “no.”

Board member David Kelly says, "I've seen a letter from last June that states they would only participate as a co-provider if employee contributions for their PPO were the same or no more than United Healthcare."

“They” is referring to Blue Cross Blue Shield who now objects to terms ratified by the school board and teachers union three weeks ago. Kelly says, "Why was Blue Cross Blue Shield presented as a co-provider under different terms when they didn't agree to those terms someone dropped the ball." F

Fr the past year all district employee groups have been studying the current insurance plan in order to try to reduce rising health care costs. REA President Molly Phalen says, "The projected savings is about $6 - $8 million dollars."

All district employees will have to decide between three different plans by the two providers. That means additional contributions for office visits, deductibles and out of pocket taxes. Phalen says, "If the board does not approve we have a ratified contract that the board cannot deliver."

Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson says this will not have an impact of taxpayers unless it fails because we would lose millions of dollars of savings. Board member David Kelly is said to be the deciding vote. If the board does vote “no” then the district could be subject to unfair labor practices.

The insurance restructuring will take effect January 1st.


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