The Pennsbury Board of School Directors, the Pennsbury Education Association, and the Pennsbury Educational Support Professionals Association have agreed to structural changes in the administration of employee health benefits that will lead to a savings of approximately $700,000 for taxpayers in the district, according to a news release.
The changes were approved by the board at the public meeting held on April 12.
The move reduces the cost of administering the employee health benefit plans with no changes in coverage for members of PEA and PESPA. The employee groups each signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as an add-on to their existing contracts with the Board. The MOUs specifically reference a change from the previous "cost-plus" arrangement to a "self-insured"arrangement, which shifts the burden of financial risk (payment of obligations) from the carrier to the group itself.
"This is a win-win arrangement for all parties involved," School Board President Allan Weisel said. "Our health benefit consultant, Stalker & Associates, Inc., recommended we make this change. The Board and union leaders agreed the move would be financially prudent. Not only do taxpayers see an advantage with savings to the School District, but employees also benefit as there will be a reduction in cost sharing." Mr. Weisel added, "This type of collaboration is a fine example of how employees and Board members can work together for the benefit of our taxpayers and students."
PEA President George Miller stated, "Our members saw this as chance to reach a negotiated consensus on the important issue of healthcare administration costs. We recognize that working with all parties to create administrative changes that are cost-effective and maintain services, benefits the entire Pennsbury community. Further, and perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates that the Pennsbury School District can move in a positive direction."
Both bargaining units are currently in status quo, operating on previously existing contracts, while negotiations continue toward new agreements for both groups. Currently, there are about 810 certified staff members in the PEA, while nearly 700 employees comprise the PESPA membership.
Gary McClure, President of PESPA, added: "This action demonstrates the type of cohesive thinking that goes into affecting positive change in Pennsbury. PESPA members, many of whom are Pennsbury taxpayers themselves, are pleased with the significant savings that will result from this new health benefit arrangement."
The Board motions to approve the structural change in Pennsbury's employee health benefit plan read as follows:
MOTION: Move that the Board authorize the Board President to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Board and the Pennsbury Education Association (PEA) to change from a cost-plus arrangement to a self-funded health benefit plan as set forth in the MOU, effective July 1, 2012 conditioned upon execution of the MOU by both parties. A copy of the MOU will be attached to the minutes of this meeting and to the extension agreement between the Board and PEA dated July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.
MOTION: Move that the Board authorize the Board President to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Board and the Pennsbury Educational Support Professionals Association (PESPA) to change from a cost-plus arrangement to a self-funded health benefit plan as set forth in the MOU, effective July 1, 2012, conditioned upon execution of the MOU by both parties. A copy of the MOU will be attached to the minutes of this meeting and to the agreement between the Board and PESPA dated July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2011.