Greener Pastures Drive Move?
The El Paso Independent School District will petition the Teacher Retirement System to leave its statewide health insurance program because of rising costs to the district and employees. “It’s a hellhole” said Board President Margo
|By Lindsey Anderson, El Paso Times, Texas|
Jan. 22–The El Paso Independent School District will petition the Teacher Retirement System to leave its statewide health insurance program because of rising costs to the district and employees.
“It’s a hellhole if we don’t,” EPISD Board of Managers President Dee Margo said after the board’s unanimous vote on the issue at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
School districts cannot leave TRS-ActiveCare once they join the program, but Margo said districts can petition the TRS board to leave.
Whether other school districts have submitted such a petition was unclear Wednesday night.
“I’m not sure it can be done given the magnitude, but to do nothing costs us dollars out of teachers’ pockets and this district that ought to be going to compensation or the classroom,” Margo said.
The El Paso Teachers Association has been behind the push for the EPISD to leave TRS-ActiveCare, petitioning state representatives to pass a law allowing school districts to opt out of the program.
El Paso Federation of Teachers & Support Personnel President Ross Moore said he didn’t know whether withdrawing from TRS-ActiveCare would be good or bad.
A survey of federation members found 15 percent had recently dropped some or all of their coverage in the past year because it was too expensive, Moore said in an email to members.
The EPISD managed its own health insurance from 1992 to 2010, when the Board of Trustees decided to join TRS-ActiveCare.
Lindsey Anderson may be reached at 546-6345.