Proposal Denied: Superintendent’s TRS insurance proposal shutdown by board

Staff Writer
        With speculation circling over the last few weeks, the San Benito CISD has finally made a decision about the future of their insurance plan. At a special school board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Dr. Marc A. Puig proposed to the SBCISD school board that a change in insurance providers be made, requesting that the Texas Retirement System (TRS) insurance plan be adopted. Although an overwhelming majority of Texas school districts already use the TRS insurance program, the school board voted 5-2 against switching to the new plan, opting instead to focus mainly on revamping the current one.                
     School Board President Arnold Padilla, who voted against the TRS insurance plan, has faith that the school district can in fact prosper while keeping their self-funded insurance plan. “We just need an opportunity to redesign the current plan to where we can still offer great health care and have it be financially feasible,” Padilla said. “The school district has always had a self-funded insurance program… just recently we had accepted a proposal from a consultant that wasn’t very good and that’s what caused the deficit,” he added. 


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    • Juan on April 6, 2015 at 10:41 am
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    Well,does the district have enough money to operate through this year,or will all the classes have to be terminated early.What will be the credit given the students,a partial or incomplete grade,will they all be held back ? Hey schoolboard members,parents how you’re going to have to start answering to the students.May be they will have better judgement than the board,it is after all for them.So Marc is right they are not in the healthcare business,their purpose is to educate the students,and somehow over time, this didn’t happen overnight,its become one large money garage sale for anybody having the right connections or relatives.
    The FBI is investigating one of the school systems in the upper valley now,wonder if we should ask them to come over here next.don’t laugh it could very well happen.

    • Rene F. on April 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm
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    No district is required to pay all of an employee’s insurance.thank goodness I already have a job in another district. Many of us have to take care of our family finances.

    • Juan on April 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm
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    The writing is on the wall: When you don’t support your superintendent, he/she will leave. You hire someone who you feel has the best interests of the district, and then you tell them that you know more. Start the truck honey, it’s time to move!

    • Juan on April 4, 2015 at 11:51 am
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    Why worry with any of this ?
    Its is not a given that there’s insurance, it’s a perk,and now those perks have become so expensive that the tax payers cannot afford it.Let all employee’s seek their own insurance plan,just like the rest of us have to do.President O’bama has a real good national program,alittle costly,but that’s a way of life,Forgo this benefit,I think it will have no ill effects,its atleast worth a try,may be the only option.I look forward to the day the state takes over the san Benito school system,light is at the end of the tunnel.

    • Juan on April 4, 2015 at 8:09 am
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    Can it be determined who issued this email ???
    And what the rational was behind it,and where the money was going to come from to bankroll the raises.
    My,this is sort of sounding like some of Hillary’s problems.

      • Juan Ocha on April 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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      If you ask around town, I’m sure somebody will know. I don’t think it matters where the email came from. What should be questioned is the survey. The options given were clear: get a big raise by picking the TRS plan pushed by Puig (which was denied once already by the SBCISD Board) or get a minimum raise, if any, by keeping the current plan – which is causing the district to fall into a deeper and deeper hole (according to stats as per Puig who also stated that we are in the education business not the health care business). Puig started off good but this is nonsense. He’s making the employees out to be fools. New employees trying to make education their career not taken into consideration. Old employees w/ 20+ years of loyal service not taken into consideration. It’s belittling. No matter the state of the SBCISD, it’s belittling. All for what? So that he will look good and move on in 2-4 years to bigger and better and leave everybody in San Benito wondering what happened? Puig, you are capable of better. The surveys posted over the past year or two have never been released to employees or public so what’s the point. Put the survey monkey back where it belongs – the zoo. Puig was in front of the camera from day one with his ideas. He should have done the same thing with this survey. Very disappointing. Truth is he didn’t do it in front of a camera for a reason. You’re better than that Puig. Fix it. Don’t lose track of your applying for a job everyday philosophy.

  1. I agree with the self- funded plan basically because you can always leverage for better rates to save the district money. The self- funded plan must push for wellness programs that will hold the insured accountable for their health. In addition, there must be a balance between the insured and the district where it’s feasible for everyone. The district can’t incur majority of the health expenses for its employees with managed healthcare plan that no one is overseeing.. I’m interested to see where the BUSINESS MANAGER is in this whole ordeal?
    The staff should be grateful TRS was not chosen. TRS only benefits the district because insurance rate will be so high that they’ll just opt out and that doesn’t include their family’s rates. Bottom line, it’s unaffordable if the insured have co dependents.
    The board MUST revamp the insurance plan and the district will start saving money instantly. By the way, hold your business manager/ CFO accountable because that could be the biggest reason your in this huge mess… Good luck

    • Jose Z. on April 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm
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    There is no expensive TRS insurance. Do your homework. This insurance mess was just waiting to happen. The board has known alllll along.
    And yes, those board members who voted against the smart hing to do, should not be re-elected.

      • Duermete on April 4, 2015 at 9:09 am
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      Jose Zzzz Zzzz Zzzz

      Where is the money to give 15% raises to everyone across the district?
      Did you do your homework?
      Dr. Puig repeatedly insists that money is scarce.
      Fact is that TRS insurance can end up costing an employee more than the 15% raise they would be receiving which could lead to an opinion of some saying that the TRS insurance plan is expensive.

    • Juan Ocha on April 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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    Rumor is there is a survey that was sent to all employees of the SBCISD by the SBCISD stating a possible 15% raise to all employees if the TRS plan is accepted…

    So the school district wants lay off employees, then give raises to the remaining, only to be weaseled into an expensive TRS insurance plan.


      • Denny Crane, Jr. on April 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm
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      The KEY word in your commentary is RUMOR.

        • Juan Ocha on April 3, 2015 at 9:57 am
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        It has been confirmed. An employee notified me that an email was sent to all SBCISD employees containing a link to take the survey.

        Oh it’s true.

    • truthandjusticeforall on April 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    Just one of what will be many setbacks for the Superintendent. You can light the path, you can lead them to water, what remains to be seen is whether this board will follow. Seems like a few will always think they have the right solution, even when they’re wrong. Keep going forward Mr. Puig, sooner or later you’ll help others find the path they’ve lost.

    • Marco on April 2, 2015 at 10:48 am
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    This school district will self-destruct as a result of the intellectual “black hole” created by this school board. I don’t normally support administrators; they are overpaid. In this case though; the Superintendent made the best possible choice to “keep the ship afloat” and it was rejected. This board is a group of pseudo-intellectuals whose self importance trumps everything else. And the entire community will feel its reverberation.

      • Denny Crane, Jr. on April 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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      Marco…..I couldn’t have expressed it any more explicitly and to the point!

      Key words: “self-destruct”, “intellectual black hole”, “overpaid”, “keep the ship afloat”, “rejected”, “pseudo-intellectuals”, and “reverberation”.

      Predictably, an insurance consultant will be hired to advise them what they want to hear.

      Any board member who is up for re-election and rejected the proposal should be ousted.

      Unfortunately, school board members can not legally be recalled.

    • Juan on April 2, 2015 at 9:09 am
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    Wow,according to Dr.Puig the school systems on the verge of going bankrupt,after study he found that the problem lies in the high dollar insurance program they maintain,he gave the board options,they the board has choosen to reject his recommendations.Now its very likely the school system will not have the money to operate for the rest of the school year.This all do to city politics/kickbacks on be half of the school board.Yes,the best thing to happen to the school system will be for the state to take it over,and run it,for the students benefit,as is the original goal.

    • Grammarian on April 1, 2015 at 2:41 pm
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    Wow! Self-funded plans are vestiges of the past. The fact that the school board took a financially viable option off the table to maintain a plan similar to what’s in place will undoubtedly lead to greater financial leverage.

    As management is forced to re-focus on areas outside education, this school system will stray further away from its main mission of educating students. What is SBCISD’s main line of business? Is it educating students or is it developing a health plan and assorted medical formularies?

    If the medical consultant the board hires is worth anything, the solution will be to push more of the healthcare costs onto the employees by increasing deductibles, having three or four tier copay formularies for drugs, excluding certain treatments, etc. This has the dual impact of reducing healthcare expenses and making employees more responsible for their own healthcare by making a conscious decision to consume healthcare or not. I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s the way it works!

    SB does not have a sustainable tax base to defend the status quo. There has been minimal population growth in the city compared to its peers, and the city is landlocked so it can’t grow its tax base (ie, revenues) that way. Things will have to change or else the city, and more importantly, the students of SBCISD will suffer.

    If this board refuses to take appropriate action, it’s only a matter of time before the state takes over the school system.

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