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EDITOR, Daily News:
I’d like to share some information regarding the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District’s (KGBSD) insurance for teachers, in the context of considering insurance costs in districts across Alaska, as well as districts in Southeast Alaska.
Often school districts calculate insurance costs for employee insurance plans using amounts paid for full-time employees. Currently, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District contributes the lowest amount for teacher’s health insurance in Alaska.
Here are some examples of school district contributions to teachers’ insurance in Alaska. Matanuska-Susitna borough contributions are $20,472 per FTE. Anchorage contributions are $19,740 per FTE. Juneau contributions are $18,828 per FTE. In Ketchikan, contributions are $13,967 per FTE.
In Southeast Alaska, districts typically pay employee insurance costs, and, in some districts, employees share these costs. No Southeast district requires employees to contribute as much as Ketchikan.
Here are some examples of percentages paid for employee insurance premiums by school districts around Southeast. The Craig, Southeast Island, Skagway and Hydaburg school districts all contribute 100 percent of employee premium costs. The Kake School District contributes 95 precent; Wrangell contributes 94 precent; and Metlakatla contributes 92 percent.
In Ketchikan, KGBSD contributes approximately 66 percent for a family insurance plan. There is a notable gap between the districts with 100 percent contributions and KGBSD’s 66 precent.
A sizeable initial outlay of funds might be required to rectify what I see as an unfair burden for insurance costs placed on the employee by KGBSD. However, had this issue been dealt with over the years, and contributions aligned with others common in Southeast and other regions of Alaska, our insurance situation wouldn’t be what it is today.
If the KGBSD had a building with a roof needing repairs to fix leaks, but delayed repairs for many years, by the time they decided to assess the project they would be met with additional issues and cost. The roof leak would have worsened and impacted the joists, trusses, insulation and drywall. The whole building would be compromised because a few shingles were not replaced. As a result, the cost of repairs would be far greater than if the roof had been repaired in a timely manner.
The KGBSD health insurance contribution ‘roof’ has been in need of repair for a long time! I urge the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District to fix it now.
Dr. VALERIE BROOKS