SL school board, teachers union take insurance premium dispute to court

Spring Lake Public Schools and the union that represents the district's teachers have taken different positions on who should have paid for an increase in health insurance premiums once the teachers' contract expired on June 30.
Becky Vargo
Nov 11, 2011

 

The amount totaled $56,000 and was deducted from the payroll of 130 teachers over a two-month period, said Superintendent Dennis Furton.

The teachers union filed a grievance, and a request by the union for arbitration was denied by Furton and the personnel committee of the school board.

So, rather than drag it out anymore than necessary, Furton said a request for an opinion on the use of a new state law — that the school system cited for making their decision — was filed in Ottawa County Circuit Court last week by the school system and its Board of Education.

Spring Lake Education Association President Laurie Draeger said she received the paperwork on Wednesday.

Once the 2009-11 contract between the school system and the teachers ended, the insurance company supplying coverage increased the premium charged, school officials claimed in the Complaint for Declaratory Judgment.

The Spring Lake Education Association filed the grievance Aug. 12 after teachers received payroll deductions of between $100 and $253 in July and August to pay the increased part of the premium, confirmed Furton.

“We were obligated by Public Act 54 to make those deductions,” Furton said. “Obviously, the Spring Lake Education Association doesn’t agree — but both are eager to resolve the issue.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

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