By Julie Ann Madden
Just 0.97 percent.
That is the amount of total package salary increase the Akron-Westfield School Board representatives proposed to the Akron-Westfield Education Association Monday night.
“Our proposals are very streamlined with changes that we seek only with regard to insurance and then wages and supplemental pay as an adjunct of that,” said A-W School District’s Attorney Jim Hanks.
“As for salaries, we propose $500 per Full-Time Employee,” said Hanks. As district employees, “I’m sure you are keenly aware of some of the financial challenges we have. What we are trying to do in this proposal is reflect respect for your need for a salary increase. For our part, we believe you’ve begun the negotiation process in a respectful way and we appreciate that.”
The largest change would be moving employees to the Wellmark Select 750 Plan, which has a Partially Self-Funded (PSF) strategy.
“What we hope to do is put the employees in a position where they can enjoy good insurance benefits but benefits that are affordable as far as everybody’s concerned,” said Hanks.
“The theory is if you buy a higher level of deductibles, the plan will cost less and the employers agree to pick up a difference to protect the employees,” he said. “The theory underlying PSF is there will be more money saved by purchasing the less expensive insurance than expended making up the difference. The actual cost is lower to the employer but the impact on the employees is not felt the normal way it would.”
In PSF, the normal understanding is you peg a level, and the district is responsible for picking up the difference through a third party administrator, said Hanks. “Say your deductible is currently $500 hypothetically and you go to a less expensive plan that has a $1,000 deductible so you pay less premium. Then any time the employees’ out of pocket expenses are greater than $500, it’s submitted to a third party administrator and the money comes back to the employees.”
Hanks and Shared Superintendent Randy Collins were open to begin closed sessions immediately but the AWEA team was missing a member due to illness, therefore, the first closed session will be Feb. 11.