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Heinemann to retire from Hudson Chamber post

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Questions insurance

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Dear Editor,

School Board President Dan Tjornehoj should be saying "Enough is enough."

Let's talk about health care for the teachers. Not only was the high-priced health insurance package from the teachers' union presented in your proposed budget, but the pay raise the union asked for is too.

If the Board is negotiating a new contract, a new insurance provider must be a point of contention you should demand in favor of the taxpayers. Why would the teachers care what company is providing their health insurance if their coverage stayed the same?

If the city of Hudson saved over $400,000 by bidding out their insurance with just a fraction of the number of employees currently in the school district, you could likely save millions of dollars. This is the biggest elephant in the room, Mr. Tjornehoj. Won't you at least try to put that crazed pachyderm in his cage?

Let's think about another small administrative change the Board should consider when seeking ways to save our tax dollars.

Currently you pay employees who opt out of the WEAC health plan a $3,500 annual stipend. Wow, we pay employees not to participate...one must assume there exists guaranteed savings by doing so. If they are not paying the $200-plus per month for the WEAC family health care plan, a great deal by any account, then they already have a better deal elsewhere. For every 20 employees who opt out and no longer get this stipend, you would save $70,000.

Mr. Erickson did not fully explain the small section in the annual report where the Board has over $1 million dollars sitting in a trust fund for "Other Post Employment Benefits."

Where is this money included elsewhere in the budget proposal? If it is money that belongs to the School District, should not that $1 million be accounted for in the budget and possibly used for more pressing needs? If it is not part of the budget, would you consider it a "slush fund" of sorts? By most accounts, the Board consciously continues to cover all teacher and administrator health care costs after retirement. Really? You retire at 55 with a very, very generous monthly retirement check and the taxpayers still pay for 95 percent of your health insurance until Medicare eligibility avails itself. Again, really?

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