Area school rescinds changes after Affordable Care Act delay

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A staffing change the Hayfield Community Schools Board made in anticipation of an Affordable Care Act requirement was reversed last month.

The board rescinded a motion to bump up the pay of about 20 paraprofessionals and cut down those same employees’ hours at a July 8 meeting. The move came in response to the Obama Administration’s announcement a section of the law, known as Obamacare, mandating employers of 50 or more employees provide health insurance would be delayed by one year to 2015.

The board originally voted 6-0, with one board member abstaining, to increase the paraprofessionals’ pay by $1 per hour and cut their scheduling to fewer than 30 hours a week to avoid being required to provide health care for them.

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It was the least costly of three possible options the board considered at a June 10 meeting — the others being paying $157,000 for the employees’ health care or $132,000 a year in fines for non-compliance.

When the deadline was pushed back to 2015, it no longer affected the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. The school board rescinded its decision at the next meeting.

“Everything on July 8 went back to the status quo,” said Ron Evjen, Hayfield’s superintendent.

With the deadline still on the horizon, Evjen said the board will need to decide in the future how to handle the requirements. Right now, it’s too early to say what courses of action need to be taken.

“We’re going to keep watching it,” he said. “I think the feeling out there is this is going to change many times over before it finally becomes law.”