Press-Republican

Local News

March 24, 2013

P'burgh City School talks health-insurance costs

PLATTSBURGH — Health insurance is under the microscope at Plattsburgh City School District.

At a recent School Board session, district resident Walter Chmura asked that the district allow experts to give a public presentation on the differences between the two plans available to employees, as well as the processes involved in making a switch from the current Plan A to Plan B.

He had urged the board over the past several weeks to consider the switch.

At a meeting last month, board member Fred Wachtmeister had said doing so would have to be negotiated with the district’s unions, but Chmura said he concluded after several emails with district officials that the switch could, in fact, be made unilaterally by the board.

PUBLIC FORUM

Plan B has been a topic of discussion during the district’s last few contract negotiations, District Superintendent James “Jake” Short said. However, the fact that the cost differential between Plan A and Plan B has continued to increase over time and is now nearing 20 percent warrants further discussion. 

In addition, he noted, he feels there is genuine interest among school employees to understand the two plans, as well as mounting questions from the public on the potential for the district to switch plans and the consequences of doing so.

Short said it would be best for the school to host a health-insurance information session, at which Steve Locey of Locey and Cahill LLC, the consulting firm that works with the district’s health-care consortium, could provide facts and answer questions.

The event would not be like a board meeting, where there is limited time for public comment, he said, but an open gathering where all attendees sit together for a presentation, and anyone who wishes may ask questions and provide comments.

“We can at least get this information out on the table and open to the public and clear to our eyes, and then decisions can be made going along,” Short said.

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