Health care costs key in battle over teachers’ salaries, budget

Full and original article posted on Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER —  The teachers’ union is asking for money the school district simply can’t afford, according to a recent Research Bureau report, but the union argues it needs competitive wages to offer quality education that will, in turn, help the city’s economic health.

The report the Research Bureau released last week on teacher compensation states that with federal stimulus money running out and state and local funding unlikely to increase much, the school district doesn’t have a lot of cash in its wallet. The School Committee is asking all teachers to pay 25 percent of their health insurance premiums, not just those hired since 2006. The union, the Educational Association of Worcester, claims the committee also wants to change the insurance plans, which would cost teachers money, and is asking for an 8.5 percent raise over three years in exchange for shouldering more of the cost.

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