Dissatisfied with the Carroll school board's health insurance proposal, the associations representing teachers, custodians and other district workers will place a counterproposal on the table at 4:30 p.m. today.
"The intent of the groups is to work collaboratively," said Harold Fox, chief negotiator for the Carroll County Education Association, which represents 1,250 Carroll teachers. "(Insurance) affects all of us in the same way."
The presentation will be made in Room 271 of the Board of Education office in Westminster. Details of the proposal were not available to the press yesterday.
Unveiling its health insurance proposal inDecember, the board attempted to encourage workers to switch from a "traditional" Blue Cross & Blue Shield plan to a "custom comprehensive" plan by offering to increase its share of that premium.
For example, the board proposal would decrease employees' monthly payments under the custom comprehensive plan from $19 to $10.95 for individualsand from $101.56 to $91.32 for families.
The majority of school workers are enrolled in the traditional plan, which provides completecoverage for many major medical bills. The custom comprehensive plan, on the other hand, covers 80 percent of the "usual and customary" medical costs; workers pay 20 percent.
William H. Hyde, Carroll's assistant superintendent of adminis
tration, said the board wants to eliminate the traditional plan because its cost is expected to increase by 50 percent.
Costs under the traditional plan next year, for example, would rise from $31.78 to $66.47 monthly for an individual and from $153.27 to $243.44 monthly for a family.
School board representatives have said the school system cannot continue to assume therising cost of health insurance. Workers, though, have said that annual wage increases have been eaten up by the extra insurance costs they have been required to pay.
Maureen A. Dincher, CCEA president, said many teachers and
other workers weren't satisfied with the board's overall health insurance proposal.
"We feel that the board and employee groups need to work together to solve the insurance problem that we all share," she said. "We feel that the board's proposal simply does not address the insurance problem enough."
Fox described the proposal as another "dramatic increase" in insurance costs to employees, particularly since the school board has offered workers a 3 percent raise for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Current contracts expire June 30.
"Three percent doesn't begin to address what we lost in the last year and our coming concerns," Fox said.
The association, however, has not yet unveiled its own wage proposal. Fox said CCEA would unveil a proposal after the district responded to the bargaining unit's health insurance plan.
Negotiations between the school board and the five associations, which represent teachers,custodians, administrators, supervisors, cafeteria and clerical workers, began in November.
At that time, representatives from both sides hoped to resolve language and other differences by the end of theyear, as their respective contracts require.
Although the board and the associations have reached tentative agreements on some language changes, a number of other factors, including health insurance and wage proposals, have yet to be resolved.