As school districts around the state begin to make staffing cuts for next year, remember, the Oregon School Boards Association and the school superintendents' association, as well as the classified union OSEA and the teacher's union, OEA, championed a sales tax on their health insurance, which wound up costing school districts $25 million in lost education dollars to pay for healthcare taxes.
In big districts like Beaverton and Salem, the taxes are significant enough to mean serious staffing cuts for essential, non-teaching positions like instructional assistants and school nurses.
Rep. Cedric Hayden and I warned that this would happen, and here we are. $1.1 million in cuts (the hit to the Beaverton School District in healthcare sales tax) is about the equivalent of 36 instructional assistants.
Meanwhile, insurance companies are posting profits and asking for double-digit rate increases for 2019.
It is unfathomable to me that a majority of my legislative colleagues were so unwilling to understand the net impact of their decision, rather than seek ways to better manage our healthcare costs using a systems-thinking approach to all of our healthcare dollars.
Next year, I plan on introducing legislation to allow school districts to bill private insurance to recoup the cost of healthcare being delivered in the classroom that should be covered with healthcare dollars, not education dollars. That should restore some parity to the system.
Representative Julie Parrish
State Representative for HD-37
Reprinted from Julie Parrish for Oregon District 37 Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/julie4oregon/
Note: Opinions stated are not necessarily those of the Clackamas County Republican Party.