NEWS HEADLINES

Boyd ISD ups contribution, adds optional program for raises

By David Talley | Published Saturday, August 12, 2017
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In response to rising healthcare costs and looming financial uncertainty, Boyd ISD has increased its contribution for employee healthcare and given its staff a new chance to earn more money.

Superintendent Ted West said the small district can’t negotiate better coverage with Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and when the public pension plan raises its rates, the district doesn’t have other choices.

“Currently we contribute $342 per month per employee,” West said. “That’s always covered the most basic plan, which is the employee-only plan.”

The employee-only provides healthcare for employees but not their families. Other available plans do cover employees’ families. West said the district should continue to cover the employee-only plan fully. School board members agreed, and last week approved raising the district’s contribution $9 per month in order to continue covering that plan for employees. The additional $9 will also be added to the district’s contribution for employees who use the district’s other plans.

“Health care costs for our employees have just skyrocketed, and when you’re a district the size of Boyd, you can’t go out and negotiate,” he said. “You’re locked in with the TRS insurance.

“We’ve always maintained that we wanted that most basic plan to be completely paid for by the district,” he said. “If we hire in somebody, no matter what the position, whether it be a teacher, administrator, food service worker, we all have the same insurance, and we wanted that most basic plan to be covered by the district.”

The additional $9 per month means the district now contributes $351 per employee. That translates to a $15,552 annual cost, West calculated.

The district will also offer employees a chance to earn an additional $1,200 annually by participating in the district’s community engagement program. A story on the optional program was published in the Aug. 5 edition of the Messenger.

“We were wanting to come up with some kind of plan that would put some more money in our employees’ pockets,” he said. “Their insurance rates are going up, and we are aware of that, but we wanted to keep some flexibility though if the rug is ripped out from under us financially.”

The school board had discussed raises before, and West said the program gives the district an avenue to better compensate employees while moderating any financial blows the district may take due to pending legislation in Austin. To participate, an employee would be required to perform 15 hours of service within the district or community.

“It’s an opportunity for our employees to get a little money to help offset the cost of rising healthcare insurance but at the same time will give us the ability to create community engagement,” he said.

West calculated the program could cost the district $200,000, but that figure is contingent on employees signing up for it, he added.

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