GRANGEVILLE — Disagreement about an insurance fund was the main topic of discussion at the Oct. 28 Mountain View School District (MVSD) 244-Central Idaho Education Association (CIEA) negotiations meeting for 2020-21 contracts.
“You violated the master agreement when you dissolved the fund – it’s a breach of contract,” Katrena Hauger, CIEA, stated.
At the heart of the dispute was the board making the decision earlier this year to close a fund containing $666,000 and roll it over into the general fund.
“Was the money not still used to help cover insurance needs?” MVSD trustee Melisa Kaschmitter asked.
“I see $121,000 was, but that still leaves $551,000 which could make a huge difference in premium and deductible costs for our employees,” Hauger answered. She also reiterated the closing of the fund without CIEA knowledge was a breach as it is a negotiated item.
The fund was originally started in 2008 under Myriad as a way to help employees buy down when there were high insurance deductibles. Hauger said, throughout time, the fund has grown when employees did not have to utilize it.
“It is still district maintenance and operations money, just in a different fund,” Lutz said.
Kaschmitter said past documentation does not mention the money be placed in a special account, so having it in the general fund is legitimate.
“It is in the master agreement. It is a negotiated item,” Hauger reiterated.
“I did not know it was specifically a negotiated item,” Lutz said.
“But you should have known,” Hauger told him.
“I understand you are upset. What can we do to fix this?” Lutz asked.
“Put the money back in a fund. It holds everyone accountable,” when it’s in a separate account, Hauger answered.
Amanda Bush, CIEA, left the meeting with some “what if” comments.
She said rather than everyone be surprised at the topics or the discussion at the next meeting, she would “throw some things out there.”
“What if we accepted the grievance policy and credit reimbursement language and left that in for two years, as you would like, with the opportunity to discuss it after that?” she asked.
“What if we’re willing to let go of calling the CARES Act funding unanticipated money and trust that the board will do the right thing,” by the staff, she also questioned.
“What if we discuss bringing back Myriad for all out employees,” so deductibles wouldn’t be such huge out-of-pocket burdens, Bush continued.
“And what if we fixed the 11 people who need to be replaced correctly on the salary schedule?” she asked. “We have already lost many good people, and these 11 people could walk into any other school and be paid more.”
“I just wanted to put that out there to think about,” she finished.
Negotiations will continue tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 5:30 p.m., at the district office.