I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Battle Over Benefits=Taxpayers the Potential $40 Million Loser

Not here, and not now, though (thankfully). This battle is being fought in Buffalo, New York.

I came across this opinion editorial this morning online. It is interesting and useful to see how other school districts work to save money in this era of shrinking budgets. Sometimes, these other districts are facing the very same issues that Escambia County is facing. Other times, issues and problems just seem eerily similar. In Buffalo, the school district and the teacher's union are engaged in a battle over benefits vs cost savings, a battle that could cost that school district (and Taxpayers) millions of dollars in savings if the local Teacher's Union there gets its way.

From the Buffalo News:

"The effort by the Buffalo Teachers Federation to get a contempt of court ruling against the Buffalo Public School District, with millions of dollars in fines, comes as no surprise — although both the move and its inevitability bring disappointment. The teachers union is seeking the ruling against school officials for failing to end a cost-saving switch to a single health insurance plan and restore multiple carrier options, as ordered by four administrative and legal decisions. Fines could be as much as $40 million against the school system, if the union gets its way. The number represents the amount saved by city schools after unilaterally switching to a single carrier." "Going to a single carrier health insurance plan in 2005 without the approval of the Teachers Federation saved the district an estimated $13 million to $15 million a year, no small piece of change. The district has claimed the move enabled it to fund teaching staff and programs..." " Given the enormity of fiscal problems on the immediate and long-term landscape, the teachers union might win a Pyrrhic victory in this action — holding the district to a contract that’s unaffordable unless there are negotiations that could undercut the savings the district needs to sustain operations. It’s hard to see the “win” in that."

The full article is here:

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