AACPS has a health insurance problem. Here's how you can help.

Answers to your questions about how we got here, and actions you can take to help teachers.

In March 2024, TAAAC members met with County Executive Steuart Pittman to talk about the AACPS budget. This was our opportunity to share our concerns about everything from the Blueprint to the special education vacancy crisis. But most importantly, we needed to talk about healthcare! Because County Executive Pittman has been a strong public education ally since before he took office, we were excited to meet with him and share what is happening. Here’s what we shared:

AACPS’s healthcare fund is in crisis

Since Fiscal Year 2018, the percentage AACPS has been contributing to our healthcare fund has been slowly decreasing. Last year AACPS only paid 75.2%. Even with recent and projected one-time contributions, their percentage of total costs is only projected to reach 86.2%.

Now, AACPS is asking educators to bear the burden of this lack of funding.

Why is this a problem?

If the Board had continued to pay at least 84% of expenses from FY21 to FY23 we would have $38 million more in the fund balance today. Instead, they are asking educators to increase their share of the costs by an additional 7%. This would mean educators are paying an average of $1400 per year more than they are today. That doesn’t help our retention issue.

When you talk to the public, they know teachers aren’t paid enough, but we do have good benefits. When there are threats to our healthcare benefits, it threatens retention of the staff we do have and our ability to recruit aspiring educators.

Aren’t healthcare costs going up anyway?

Our healthcare costs will increase in January 2025 regardless of whether or not our split stays the same. However, employees should not be punished for using the benefits we receive with our employment. Over the last year, the plan fund saw a 12.6% increase in claims, which meant the balance dropped. Part of this was due to pent-up demand as staff went to the doctor after the pandemic delayed care. Additionally, the top two claims this year were mental health and hypertension.

How do we fix the problem?

In order to prevent shrinkflation from impacting our healthcare, AACPS needs an additional $17 million on top of the proposed budget. This means that County Executive Steuart Pittman needs to create a budget that fully funds the public education budget and work with AACPS to increase revenues and direct additional funding to our healthcare fund.  This would require the County Council to pass a progressive tax increase.

How can I help?

TAAAC members are asking colleagues, parents, and community members to take action to fully fund the public education budget and keep pressure on the county council to pass the necessary revenue increases. Here are three actions you can take:

  1.  Share our posts on social media! Follow us @taaaconline and repost anything about the budget, including links to this article!
  2. Send an email to the County Council. Click here to edit a pre-populated email script that will help us get the word out that our community supports teachers.
  3. Attend the County Council budget hearings. As soon as they announce a date, check back here for more information.
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