PSE’s effort to provide affordable, quality health care insurance for all school employees has stalled for now. SB 5726 continues to get plenty of favorable attention but also receives some negative attention. One thing that gets in the way is the cost to provide K 12 employees “parity with state employees”. What this means is K 12 employees, including part-time classified employees, would receive the same funding as state employees.
K 12 employees currently receive $780 per month while state employees receive $888 per month. A second major cost is that part-time state employees who work half-time or more receive the same funding as full time employees while in K 12 they are prorated. For instance, a 4 hour part-time classified school employee receives $390 per month while a 4 hour state employee receives $888 per month.
It costs nearly $330 million per year to treat all K 12 employees the same as state employees. $82 million of that is to provide part-time classified school employees the same benefits part-time state employees receive.
Not surprisingly, that makes this issue more difficult to fix. However, one insignificant victory in this struggle is that OSPI’s first estimate of the cost of the bill was $700 million per year. Yea we were successful reducing the cost but that doesn’t make our opponents go away, unfortunately.