Agreement Will Offer Significant Positive Financial Impacts for KLSD,
While Reinforcing Partnership to Create a Sustainable Future for the District
The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education (BOE) and the Katonah-Lewisboro District Teachers Association (KLDTA) are pleased to announce the approval of a Memorandum of Agreement that provides a significant step forward in their shared desire to have the district achieve a sustainable future.
The memorandum, an extension of the current KLDTA contract, is part of the ongoing collective bargaining negotiation between the parties and has taxpayers, students and staff as the ultimate winners.
The most significant component in the Memorandum of Agreement is the move from a self-insured health insurance plan for employees to a traditional plan delivered by NYSHIP (New York State Health Insurance Plan) Empire. Approximately 20 years ago, the KLDTA and the BOE jointly established contract language for the self-insured plan because it was projected to offer lower costs for health insurance. That was based, in large measure, on the health care cost dynamics of that time. But today, based upon significant change in the health care industry, the self-insured plan no longer offers the predictability and cost-effectiveness it once did.
“The memorandum provides practical solutions to one of the district’s largest financial challenges and demonstrates our shared commitment to work together amicably in the interests of the entire community,” said KLDTA President Sandra Grebinar. “We want to continue to work productively with district officials and the Board to preserve the district’s instructional quality in the face of these serious financial challenges.”
Once again, the KLDTA and the BOE have jointly worked for a better solution for all district stakeholders by researching numerous options over the past several years. Under the NYSHIP plan, the District and its employees will realize a more affordable healthcare option as a result of participating in a plan offered to school districts and municipalities throughout all of New York State. Because this is a more competitive, premium-based program, it provides the potential to bring our cost-per-pupil more in line with that of comparable districts.
The new health insurance plan is expected to help arrest the growth in health insurance costs and ultimately offer substantial savings to the district. “I thank Ms. Grebinar, the KLDTA negotiating team members and the entire membership for its continued efforts,” said Board of Education President Mark Lipton. “The Board is proud of what we have accomplished with the KLDTA and we look forward to continuing this kind of collaborative progress.”
The second component of the Memorandum of Agreement is the creation of an Early Retirement Incentive Plan (ERIP). This incentive plan, which grants a cash award of $17,500, is available to unit members with at least 15 years of credited service in the district who are eligible for retirement (through the Teachers’ Retirement System) from May 10, 2013 through June 30, 2015.
Though there is a small cash outlay, this retirement incentive will save significant salary and benefit costs over time through replacement of retirees with less experienced, lower-cost professionals. Preliminary estimated savings for next year alone is expected to be approximately $32,500 per employee electing to take the incentive. The incentive also benefits existing staff by allowing some of our younger teachers to maintain their jobs, given the decline in enrollment the district has experienced.
This is the second time in the last several months that the KLDTA and the BOE have worked on and agreed to a contractual amendment that will save money, with the first being the change in the prescription drug plan, one that saved more than $300,000.