The Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well under the Affordable Care Act: Obamacare is causing kids to be off school on some oddball days so the part-time school aides and helpers don’t qualify for full-time health insurance benefits.
In Grant School District 110 in Fairview Heights, that meant a savings of $270,000 last year by limiting the calendar to 19 school days a month so the paraprofessionals do not accumulate enough hours to receive district-provided health care coverage. Harmony-Emge District 175 just made the same move this school year.
Administrators said most of their part-time staff have health care coverage from other sources. The cost of covering the few who don’t is not something taxpayers have shown a willingness to support.
Grant has no real retail tax base like other local districts, and has been barely getting by financially with multiple requests that property taxpayers give them more. Add to the mix the state shorting students, and there’s good reason to seek savings where you can.
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Smart leaders work within the rules to make the rules work in their favor. Regardless of the stated reasons for the shortened school month, the financial benefits are worth the inconveniences as long as school is in session for the minimum 176 days.