The plan of chapter 44, promulgated by the governor.
If the savings had materialized, they would have potentially benefited other school programs and services, said
The law requires that all health plan savings be used to reduce the property tax burden.
What is Chapter 44?
The law is the result of an agreement between the former president of the Senate
The law passed unanimously with a 34-0 vote in the State Senate in
Local school officials agree that the plan reduces teachers’ contributions to their health plan, but the costs are passed on to districts and therefore taxpayers. Some district officials called the law an unfunded state mandate that causes “significant difficulties” because it also adds layers to their negotiations with local employee unions.
State officials and the NJEA disagree with local districts’ assessment of the plan, saying providing teachers with affordable health benefits is not an “unfunded mandate.”
School districts are required to automatically enroll staff hired after
After its implementation 15 months ago, 2022 is the first year that savings from the new plan will be reflected in local tax levies.
bear the cost
In complaints filed with the State
In 2021, a number of school districts, the
Chapter 44 “creates higher costs to individual school districts and should therefore be imposed on those districts,” the three districts and their supporters wrote at
Of 158 districts surveyed by the
Among the districts that said Chapter 44 would increase their costs are the
Providing teachers with affordable health benefits is not an “unfunded mandate,” the NJEA said in its written response to the
“There’s been a lot of numbers that have been thrown around over the last year and very little ability to track and substantiate claims that districts have made about the costs associated with this, or the lack of savings, because frankly, when we challenged them on that, and to kind of come to the table and show us that, they didn’t,” the NJEA spokesperson said.
The schools argue that letting local districts negotiate contracts with teachers’ unions to offset the costs of the new plan is tantamount to not funding the law. Districts and unions don’t always agree, they said.
Districts have said their hands are tied because they are not allowed to collect money to offset their expenses from any source other than property taxes, according to documents provided to the
The new health plan
The new plan reduces the employee contribution percentage from a range of 3% to 35% to a range of 1.7% to 7.2%, leaving school districts to absorb that difference, according to legal documents submitted by the districts. .
The association said the law also exposed school boards to lawsuits for violating collective agreements if they don’t offer the new health plan to cut costs.
In response to district complaints, the
“Some districts may be able to demonstrate that health care savings were unrelated to Chapter 44.” the
“I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault. It was a new law,” said
The state’s overstatement of the savings made through the law was understandable, and it was dealt with gently, Young said. “The law with respect to these tax levy adjustments has been drafted very broadly. I don’t think anyone, whether school districts or the
The savings districts have seen over the past two years in health insurance costs, however small, are due to Chapter 44, said NJEA’s Baker.
That’s not true, says Young. There are “many, many reasons why the net benefits to a school district may increase or decrease that have nothing to do with the implementation of the EHP plan.”
The law didn’t consider other ways the district was saving money for taxpayers, she said.
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