Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Evolution of Ypsilanti Community Schools, Part II

You may want to first read The Evolution of Ypsilanti Community Schools, Part I.

People are wondering some other things as well.

3. At a recent combined board meeting, the head of the (I heard this second-hand, but I think it was the) Ypsilanti custodians' union got up to speak to the board about the fact that they had been told that while teachers and administrators would get benefits for themselves and their families, the custodians, paraprofessionals, office staff, and more would only be able to get individual health benefits. 

According to a May 13, 2013 report in the Ypsilanti Courier, 
Menzel said the most significant difference [in terms of employment] is that some employees won't be eligible for spousal or family coverage. While teachers, administrators, and several other groups of staff members will receive options for single, spousal, or family coverage, other groups, such as paraprofessionals and custodial staff, will only be offered single person coverage.
And although this may be correct (based on other conversations I've had), I didn't get that from reading the minutes for the May 9, 2013 meeting, which state:  
Approval of Terms and Conditions Recommendation for Benefits
Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent, provided a presentation that included the following information: Trustees Raglin and Myers served on the Terms and Conditions Committee, how the consulting firm McGraw-Wentworth was chosen, overall benefit concepts, investigating other benefit plan designs, review of current benefit plans, the McGraw-Wentworth recommendation was to stay as simple as possible as Ypsilanti Community Schools is launched and have all employees participate in a single program of benefits that may include some benefit choices and some optional employee paid plans, all benefit plans and levels should be available to all employees, the district has to follow the Personal Protection Affordable Care Act (PPAC), employees must work 30 hours per week to qualify for benefits, implementation of a new hire waiting period for employees not previously a part of either district, set a clear limit on duration of benefits extended due to disability, establishing the cap structure, plans outside the cap, offer optional life insurance arrangements that allow employees to purchase up to $100,000 coverage, a flexible spending account for health care and dependent care will be available, offering employees that enroll in the High Deductible Health Plan the ability to deposit pre-tax income into a Health Savings Account (HSA), the new district is opting for a fully insured plan. In conclusion, Superintendent Menzel thanked staff members and Trustees Raglin and Myers for the many hours spent working on the recommendation.
A motion was made by Trustee Raglin, supported by Trustee Myers:
That the Unified Board of Education adopt the attached Terms and Conditions
Recommendation for Ypsilanti Community School employee benefits. 
Action Recorded: 5/Yes; 0/No. 
Read the items referred to as the "attached Terms and Conditions Recommendation" in this board packet. I don't see where it recommends that some groups get individual coverage only and others get family coverage. If you see where it says that, can you point it out?

4. In fact, I have specifically asked WISD Supt. Scott Menzel and Emma Jackson (WISD Communications Director and former Ypsilanti Public Schools communications staff person) about compensation (both salaries and benefits) for custodians, paraprofessionals, office staff, etc. I got this answer back from Emma Jackson: 
Compensation for support staff employees is still being constructed and has not been approved by the board of education. 
Well, at least that explains why custodians and paraprofessionals are complaining that they haven't even been interviewed. 

[Update 6/5/2013: A person emailed me to say that she believed that those same custodians and paraprofessionals will have their benefits end on 6/30/2013, while teachers' benefits will continue through the summer. If that is true, that is another difference.]

What it does not explain is:

1. Why haven't many of the non-teaching staff been interviewed?
2. Why haven't salary ranges, minimally, been set?
3. Is it true that certain job positions will not get benefits for their families? Has this been approved by the board? Is this morally defensible? [Let's set aside, just for the moment, the fact that most of the paraprofessionalss and custodians have salaries that are low enough that their children, at least, qualify for Medicaid.]

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