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Whitewater school board delays insurance decision

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Kevin Hoffman
June 1, 2011
— The Whitewater School District will remain with the stateís union-created health insurance company, discarding a Dean Health Plan option that would have immediately provided bigger savings.

The school board hasnít yet determined what plan it will choose, but members agreed to use one of the Wisconsin Education Association Trust plans. What option the board chooses ultimately could determine what cuts will be made next year as the district continues to address a $450,000 shortfall.


Rates in each of the plans provided savings anywhere from 4 to 25 percent, with the more significant savings coming from Dean Health. It wasnít immediately clear how much money that would save next year in the districtís budget.


Board member Dan McCrea said changing to Dean Health in just 30 days, the end of the current budget, would be extremely difficult. Diana Callope, president of the Whitewater Teachers Union, argued a new plan would require everyone with WEA Trust to change doctors or not go to the doctor at all.


She also said WEA Trust is nationally networked, allowing beneficiaries to get care outside of Whitewater.


The board didnít determine when an official decision would be made on the districtís insurance carrier.


Last week, the board approved a list of about 18 cuts expected to close the budget gap to about $4,500. Business Manager Nathan Jaeger said those projections were made with insurance savings of about 7 percent in mind.


Among the cuts were a reduction in all building and central office budgets, restructuring the physical education department, and dropping the boys tennis and girls golf programs.


Jaeger and the board agreed some of the approved cuts could come off the table depending on what savings come from the health insurance plan.



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