The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

June 20, 2013

Washington schools may cut part-time hours

WASHINGTON — Part-time employees of Washington schools might see some hours cut as they, like schools across the country, get ready for Obamacare.

The Washington School Board heard news Thursday about the new health care act, officially called the Affordable Care Act, and said many part-time workers may have to see hours cut to below 30. The cut, Superintendent Daniel Roach said, was to fall under the proposed mandate of 30 hours.

The reason, Roach said, was funding. Although the schools offer health care to the teachers, administrators, full time personnel and board members, the school will have to look at positions like substitute teachers, coaches and cafeteria workers to make sure they fall under the 30-hour-a-week minimum.

“It is going to be a very cumbersome task,” Roach said. “It really creates a lot of problems for our non-certified staff.”

Under the new health care law, set to be implemented in 2014, any business that employs 50 people has to offer health insurance. If not, a fine is levied by the government. In exchange, everyone is required to purchase health insurance and can do so through government exchanges.

At least, in theory, is how the law is supposed to work. But the reality has been different as many decisions on the gargantuan law becomes ready to be implemented. Roach said schools were supposed to have guidance on the new law earlier this year, but has not received it.

The superintendent said to offer health insurance to the school’s part-time employees would be a cost they could not afford.

“We don’t have a chance with funding as it currently stands,” Roach said. “We don’t have a chance with funding as it currently stands. We don’t have all the answers.”

As a preventative measure, the board voted for a resolution that would take responsibility for any penalties with the health care law onto the school rather than an individual person, as the law says.

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