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Administrators pay 10% of insurance premiums



Published: Mon, September 11, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Other nonunion employees must begin making the payment Oct. 1.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- City school district administrators are now paying 10 percent of their hospitalization and drug prescription insurance premiums.

The change will save the school district about $83,000 a year.

The administrators and other nonunion staff were asked to begin paying part of their insurance premiums as a way to help reduce district spending.

There are about 30 employees in that latter group, and they will begin paying 10 percent of their hospitalization and prescription insurance Oct. 1, saving the district an additional $40,000 per year.

Youngstown is under state fiscal watch because of a $2 million budget deficit in the fiscal year ended June 30 and a projected $8 million deficit this year.

Dr. Wendy Webb, superintendent, said the administrative staff knew the request that they pick up part of their insurance cost was coming.

Dental and vision coverage will remain 100 percent paid by the district.

About 60 administrators on the family plan for prescription and health care coverage will be paying $107 a month while those on the single plan will pay about $43 a month.

A total of about 77 administrators are affected.

The only one

Before now, Webb was the only district employee contributing to her health care, picking up 5 percent of the premium as a term of her employment.

The board of education had suggested that administrators step forward and agree to share in their insurance costs to show the public that the district and its employees are making efforts to control spending.

The board has voted to ask city taxpayers to approve a five-year, 9.5-mill levy to erase the red ink, and board members have said they have to show internal cost-saving measures have been taken.

Treasurer Carolyn Funk said the same 10 percent cost-sharing proposal will be presented to all unionized district employees, including teachers, in new contract negotiations this school year.

She has estimated that the district would save about $1.2 million a year in insurance costs if every one of the district's approximately 1,500 employees picked up 10 percent of their hospitalization and prescription insurance premiums.

Wage freezes

The teachers and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union all accepted one-year contracts that froze base wages for this year, although those working their way up the steps of a contract salary schedule will still get those step increases.

About half of the employees still got some pay increase, Funk said.

Likewise, administrators agreed to a freeze on base salaries for this year, although those moving up through experience steps will still get step increases. Administrators who changed positions or added to the number of days they work received raises, Funk said.

About half of the 77 saw no wage increase, she said.

The administration has already proposed $35 million in spending cuts and job reductions that will occur over five years as the district closes some of its older buildings.

gwin@vindy.com




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