Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Message from Steve Cook, MEA President

Sunday, June 26, 2011

HB 4574 Hard Cap talking points

HB 4574 – Hard Cap Talking Points

A hard cap is anti-family because it will make coverage unaffordable

It would shift the responsibility for paying nearly all future health care cost increases to Michigan public employees and their families.
Thousands of public employees and their families would end up paying thousands of dollars more out of their pockets to cover future increases.
And a public employee making $60,000 a year will pay the same for their healthcare as someone making $15,000 per year. This could cause many families to lose their house or even face bankruptcy.

A hard cap is a one-size-fits-all approach that does not work in Michigan.

The legislation ignores the fact that health care costs vary considerably by region in Michigan. The cost of healthcare in the metro Detroit area is different from the Grand Rapids area, which is different from the Marquette area.
Health care costs also vary by demographics factors including age and gender. Costs will be lower for a group of employees who are mostly in the age range of 20 to 30 than for a group with relatively older workers.Health care costs for women are much higher than for men, so the hard cap hurts Michigan women most. Per capita health spending is 32% higher for females than for males

The new state budget already addresses the issue. Let’s give it time to work.

The budget addressed these issues for school employees and municipalities. Before we move forward with something that will hurt Michigan families and women and have other unintended consequences, let’s give that time to work.

HB 4572 analysis

An Analysis of the Hard Cap

The hard cap proposed in House Bill 4572 shifts nearly all of the costs of serious and catastrophically-expensive illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes, premature babies, and leukemia and other cancers to public employees and their families.

Even when a health plan is successful at keeping a group’s medical claims cost trend down to 5%, the cost of one or two catastrophic illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, stroke or a premature baby will quickly make the coverage unaffordable for the employees. With experience-rated and self-insured plans, a cap shifts almost all of the cost and risk of a catastrophic sickness to the employee group.

Hard Cap Base Year

Typical group: 150 employees

Annual cost: $2,400,000

Cost per employee: $16,000

Hard Cap: $15,000 per employee

Employee share: $1,000 per employee

Hard Cap Year Two

Same group: 150 employees

Cost trend: 5% x $2,400,000 = $120,000 ($2,520,000 total base)

Catastrophic claim: Preemie baby requiring neonatal care: $300,000

Annual cost: $2,820,000

Cost per employee: $18,800

Hard Cap: $15,300 (2% inflation)

Employee share: $3,500 per employee

Hard Cap Year Three

Same group: 150 employees

Cost trend: 5% x $2,520,000 = $126,000 ($2,646,000 total base)

Catastrophic claims: 2nd year care for preemie: $50,000

Leukemia diagnosis: $350,000

Annual cost: $3,046,000

Cost per employee: $20,307

Hard cap: $15,606 (2% inflation)

Employee share: $4,701 per employee

Hard Cap Year Four? Five? Six? In only two years an employee’s share more thanquadrupled, increasing by 470%. What will happen in years four, five, six and beyond?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Please vote on May 3

Dear Friends of Public Education:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011, is the date for this year’s school board election. We believe that this election is critical to the future of Holland Public Schools. After reviewing the candidates for office and meeting with the Holland Education Association’s screening and recommendation committee, we recommend that our members and friends vote for the following candidates: John Sibble and Magdalena Rivera.

As school employees and friends of public education, we know it is extremely important that all of us get out to vote on May 3. This election is another important step affecting the future of our district’s children, as well as those who work with and support them. Please vote for Magdalena Rivera and John Sibble for Holland Public Schools School Board.


Holland Education Association Executive Board

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lawmakers introduce tired attacks on school employees

Here's an overview of some of the bills introduced to date:

Senate Bill 0007 would prohibit public employers from paying more than 80 percent of the total cost of the medical benefit plans (including medical, dental, and optical) for employees. Public employers with health savings account plans could pay up to 90 percent of the cost. The implementation date in the bill is Jan. 1, 2013, and any contracts in effect at that time would be honored until the expiration date of the contract. The legislation would apply to all union employees, non-union employees, and elected officials covered by the public employer’s medical benefit plans. The sponsor is Sen. Mark Jansen, R- Gaines Township. This measure may require a change to the state constitution, which has been introduced as Senate Joint Resolution C, also sponsored by Jansen.

Senate Joint Resolution B would place a constitutional revision before voters to cut public employee pay by 5 percent and freeze that rate for three years. The resolution will require a 2/3 majority vote in each chamber. Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, is the sponsor.

House Bill 4052 would amend the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) to prohibit public employees or their unions from using any school facilities or equipment for union activities. The sponsor is Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville.

House Bill 4054 would amend PERA to allow public schools and other governmental entities to create a "Right to Work Zone" by a vote of the governing body. The sponsor is Rep. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy.

 House Bill 4059 would prohibit release time for union officers or bargaining representatives to conduct union business if the release time is paid for by the public employer. Knollenberg is the sponsor.

House Bill 4128 would prohibit a department, board, or commission from setting a rule or standard on workplace ergonomics. The sponsor is Rep. Bradford Jacobsen, R-Oxford.

House Bill 4139 would require public employers to conduct beneficiary eligibility audits to determine whether dependents covered by public employees' health insurance plans are eligible for benefits. The sponsor is Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills.

House Bill 4140 would create a state-run health insurance plan for public employees. This proposal would cost $870 million to set up and would not guarantee any savings. Melton is the sponsor.

House Bill 4141 would create a new state commission of political appointees to study consolidation of non-instructional services in all public schools. Based on the recommendations, the state could then order service consolidation. Melton is the sponsor.

House Bill 4142 would amend tenure law. Probationary teachers rated ineffective would not earn tenure. Tenured teachers rated "ineffective" for two consecutive years may have to serve another four-year probationary period. Melton is the sponsor.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Congratulations Superintendent Davis

Presented to the Holland School Board's December meeting during public comments by HEA President Rick Slachta-

On behalf of the Holland Education Association, it’s Executive Board and
it’s members, I am here to congratulate Mr. Brian Davis on the honor of
being named the Michigan Association of School Administrators’
superintendent of the year.

To anyone that has been watching, it is evident that Supt. Davis is an
extremely hard worker whose efforts are guided by a deep commitment to
our District’s welfare. Among his accomplishments, I am most impressed
by his ability to channel our community’s support for it’s public school
system into a successful bond campaign that will provide our District
with resources that will help us retool for education in the 21st

Just as our community values it’s school district, so do we HEA members
value the contribution of Supt. Davis’ effective leadership during these
challenging times. Brian, we congratulate you on this recognition and
pledge to continue supporting your efforts to evolve the Holland Public
Schools towards even more success in the future.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Act NOW before it's too late!

Contact your state representative TODAY -- Urge NO vote on tenure, evaluation changes

Tenure and evaluation are coming under attack today in the state House of Representatives -- and we need your help to stop it.

A last-minute, lame-duck deal is in the works that would enact tenure and evaluation changes that were first proposed before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Learn more about what's happening -- then please contact your state representative IMMEDIATELY and urge him or her to vote NO on HB 4410 and SB 638 (or any other bills during lame duck that change tenure or evaluation law). Point out to your representative that:

1) Evaluating and maintaining a professional teaching force is a complex matter. A two day "lame duck" session where late night deals are rammed through the Legislature is not the way to address these critical issues. That requires time, hearings, input from all sides and careful deliberation.

2) Right now, to get votes, all kinds of deals, earmarks and back-room enticements are being offered. This kind of "politics as usual" is not the way to secure and maintain the kind of professional teaching force our children deserve.

3) We believe that these bills will actually slow down the process of removing unsatisfactory teachers and also add substantially to the cost of the process, something that does not benefit the students, the schools, the state or educators.

Please contact your state representative right away -- there is still time to stop these attacks from coming to fruition.

Reminder: Many school districts have policies about communicating with legislators on school time and equipment, so wait until you are away from school to contact your legislators or use your personal cell phone when you are off duty.