Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 22, 2013

Districts cut hours for non-teachers

Taylor, Northwestern vote to avoid providing insurance to workers.

By Carson Gerber
Tribune staff writer

— Hours for 31 Taylor Community Schools employees were cut Monday as the school district tries to avoid providing them health care.

Under new federal requirements that are part of the Affordable Care Act, schools are mandated to provide insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more a week.

The new requirement takes effect next school year.

Superintendent John Magers said it would have cost the district nearly $240,000 to provide insurance to all the employees.

The Taylor School Board voted unanimously to slash hours for cafeteria workers, nine-month custodians, lay coaches and all aides to 28 hours a week.

Magers said the move will “help the general fund survive.”

School Board Vice President Jeff Kellar said the board was forced to make the cuts to keep the district budget stable.

“These cuts are something we don’t want to do,” he said. “I know there are people who think the board wants to do this, but it’s only because of Obamacare.”

Member Scott Maple also proposed reducing hours for a number of clerical positions but voted against his own proposal after school employees attending the meeting argued the positions were essential to keep the schools running smoothly.

“We have to make some decisions that aren’t going to make us popular, but if we don’t, no one may have jobs,” said board member Bill Brubaker. “It’s an all or none thing.”

The Northwestern School Board also voted unanimously Monday to reduce hours for about a dozen instructional assistants to avoid providing them with insurance.

School officials said Tuesday the employees will now work 25 hours a week starting next school year.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.