State budget changes kick in for Elmbrook School District
Employees will pay more for retirement; union dues dropped
Employees in the Elmbrook School District will see plenty of changes in their paychecks in the coming weeks.
For one thing, the district is no longer collecting union dues from four of its represented groups, as per the rules in the recently approved state budget-repair bill. That change was implemented in the first pay period after June 29.
Also, increased employee contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System - 5.8 percent of salaries, per the repair bill - will start for employees late next month. Twelve-month employees will see the contribution deductions in the Aug. 15-31 pay period, and 10-month employees will see them during the Sept. 1-15 pay period.
The changes do not apply to the custodians union, which is the only Elmbrook employee group with a valid contract. The custodians in September agreed to a three-year contract, which calls for employees to pay 6 percent toward their health and dental premiums.
Collective-bargaining agreements with teachers, teaching assistants, administrative assistants and food service employees expired June 30.
Raise limits unclear
Under the new state law, union groups are allowed to negotiate on salary increases only up to the Consumer Price Index.
The trouble is, nobody is quite sure how that figure will be calculated yet, said Kristi Foy, counsel for the Elmbrook School District.
Foy, who is helping Elmbrook with personnel issues as the district searches for a new human resources director, said the CPI would be reviewed on an annual basis. However, it is unclear whether the annual calculation would be done over the course of the calendar year or the district's fiscal year.
It's also unclear what formula the state will use to calculate the CPI, she said.
In a memo to the School Board, Foy and Keith Brightman, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue are expected to provide clarification on the process in the coming weeks and months.
Any negotiations on salary for the four union groups without contracts would be for the 2011-12 school year, Foy said.
Change in health-care plans
Health-care plans are changing for employees, too. Last week, district officials released proposed changes to Elmbrook's insurance plans, which will go into effect Jan. 1.
The plans are divided into three options: two traditional preferred provider options, or PPOs, and a high-deductible health-care plan, which is designed to keep costs down for the district and for users.
Each plan includes a $100 emergency room co-pay, which did not exist under previous plans. Employees get savings in their plans if they participate in wellness activities, and Brightman said there might be a spouse wellness requirement in the future.
The district originally had planned for $780,000 in savings through the health-care changes, but Brightman said the actual savings are estimated at $878,000. He said some of that money likely will be needed to pay for staffing - probably a half-time equivalent clerical position - to administer the new plan.
The district will communicate with employees about the new plans starting in September, and employees will make their plan choices in October.
Board President Tom Gehl said the change in health-care plans addresses the district's budget issues as well as helps employees become healthier and saves them money in the long run.
"I couldn't be happier with this development," he said.
WHAT: Elmbrook School Board vote on changes to employee health insurance plans
WHEN: 6 p.m. Aug. 23
WHERE: Central Administration Office, 13780 Hope St.
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