In May, the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) and Teamsters Local 320 separately voted to give notice to Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) of their intent to participate in the state’s Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP). SPFE has expressed its desire that this change go into effect on January 1, 2020, with an open enrollment process this fall.

If implemented, this decision will violate our existing two-year contract with HealthPartners and will have real impacts on SPPS, its employees and its students, including, but not limited to:

 

  • Increased premiums for remaining employees, including a projected 22-percent increase next year
  • An unbudgeted, $4 million fee from HealthPartners for significantly reducing the number of employees covered under  the current contract

 

Under the Health Insurance Transparency Act (HITA), unions have the option to participate in PEIP if the majority of voting members approves. SPPS is simply asking SPFE and Teamsters 320 to wait until the two-year contract with HealthPartners is complete at the end of 2020 to avoid significant financial losses, to enable the District to solicit proposals for a new insurance plan and to keep District resources where they belong - in the classroom.

The statute requires unions to provide notice of their intent to participate in PEIP at least 30 days before the end of the collective bargaining agreement. The statute does not establish the timeline for when participation in PEIP must begin.

Superintendent Joe Gothard and Board Chair Zuki Ellis sent this letter to SPFE and Teamsters 320 union leadership on Friday, July 19, requesting a delay for one year. Nothing legally prevents the unions from doing so. SPPS has confirmed with Minnesota Management and Budget, the State agency that administers PEIP, that the unions are welcome to enter PEIP in January, 2021.

Please visit this link for factual answers to frequently asked questions that were posted earlier this year. These FAQs will be updated regularly, so check back again. Our hope is that SPFE and Teamsters 320 will think about all staff members, the financial health of SPPS and the students we all serve while considering the District’s request to begin participation in PEIP on January 1, 2021.