PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Poor Leadership Causes More Problems With MPS

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on June 13, 2010

JSOnline is reporting that MPS has sent out lay off notices to 482 teachers as well as hundreds of educational assistants. MPS officials are saying that the lay offs stem from the teachers union not accepting a less expensive health plan.

But there are two problems with their claim.

One is that the change had not been properly introduced:

Union spokeswoman Kristen Collett said the administration never presented that option during negotiations for a new contract.

“The district has been engaged in public bargaining, but it never came up at the table,” Collett said when reached by telephone Friday evening.

The last contract between MPS and the teachers expired June 30, 2009, Collett said.

The other problem is that the claim that this other health plan would be less expensive is rather dubious. From Jay Bullock, liberal blogger and teacher extraordinaire:

And here’s the kicker: Changing the health plan from PPO to HMO isn’t going to save much money at all: The district offered an estimate a while ago, noted by the editorial board here: “An estimated $47 million in health care savings could spare 400 teaching jobs.” Their math is right on how much teachers cost, but the “estimated” savings is nowhere near accurate. The way MPS arrived at the number was to take the average cost of an employee on the HMO and subtract that from the average cost of an employee on the PPO, multiplied by the number of employees on the PPO. Problem is, the average cost of an employee on the HMO will shoot right up if all of us are on that plan. Why? Because the costs are based on actual utilization, and employees who choose the PPO do so generally because they have higher-cost or more challenging needs. Those health issues will not magically go away under the HMO, and MPS will still find itself paying for that care. In addition, the HMO requires no annual deductible or co-insurance or cop-pays.

Jay goes on to explain where the real problems are coming from.

But now, due to the state, the feds, and the MPS leadership, there will be hundreds of less teachers to try keep a struggling school system from completely failing. Nowhere have I seen any explanation on how fewer teachers are going to help raise the reading and math abilities of struggling students.

I completely sympathize with Jay and his fellow teachers, as well as the students who will ultimately pay the price for MPS leadership’s failure. After all, Milwaukee County government has the same issue with its leadership.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: