CCSD support staff, police brace for health care hike

Michael Lopardi

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

CCSD support staff, police brace for health care hike

CREATED Nov. 19, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Thousands of employees in the Clark County School District are bracing for a hike in their health insurance rates.

The school district said the increase will impact school police and support staff, like custodians, bus drivers and food service workers. Nearly 11,000 employees and family members take part in the benefits, according to the district. 

"I went, 'Oh my God. They got to be joking,'" said Francine Kronberg, an instructional assistant at Legacy High School in North Las Vegas.

Concerned over the changes, Kronberg emailed Action News.

"I think it's totally ridiculous and I've talked to my coworkers and they feel the same way," said Kronberg. "They're outraged."

The current health care contract is set to expire on Dec. 31. The new deal takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The amount of the increase will depend on the plan. The changes will not impact teachers or administrators, whose health care is part of a different program.

Kronberg's plan will go from roughly $10 a paycheck to nearly $66 by the new year for individual coverage.

"Please do something," Kronberg said. "Please, please bring our rates down. Nobody can pay for those things."

One HMO plan that previously offered free coverage will come with some costs under the new contract. 

The Education Support Employees Association is the union that represents the district's support staff. John Carr, union president, said he's filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the district over the matter. Carr said he wanted more details during negotiations over benefits offered.

"Prove to me that you did everything to give support staff affordable health care," Carr said. "Not health care, affordable health care."

The school district is blaming the increase on rising health care costs.

"All of our support staff who have health insurance through the district will see an increase," said Kirsten Searer, CCSD chief of staff.

Searer said the district's health care costs jumped 22 percent over the last two years. She said the district absorbed the costs as long as it could but now has to pass some of those costs onto employees.

"These are the people who really keep the district going," Searer said. "They're the backbone of the district keep it running everyday so it is very upsetting for everyone involved."

In a Nov. 7 memo to support staff and school police employees, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said the district is working to keep increases in employee contributions to a minimum.

"Give us a lower rate," Kronberg said. "It's too expensive."

Enrollment is currently open and will continue until Dec. 27, according to a district memo.

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