NPS: Teacher’s union proposal would cost Norwalk millions of dollars

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski, right, in February introduces his 2017-18 recommended operating budget to Common Council members.

NORWALK, Conn. — Assertions made Thursday by the Norwalk Federation of Teachers are not accurate, Norwalk Public Schools said Friday.

NPS, in a statement released Friday afternoon by Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams, responded to NFT’s bombshell announcement that it has filed a complaint with the State Board of Labor Relations.

Accepting the union’s offer would cost Norwalk taxpayers millions, NPS said.

NPS is seeking to close a $6.6 million funding gap in its 2017-18 operating budget; with NFT refusing a request to switch its health insurance plan to CT Partnership 2.0, the Board of Education has openly discussed the possibility of laying off 75 teachers.

“The Norwalk Board of Education is in the midst of a budget crisis, exacerbated by foot dragging and lack of planning,” NFT President Mary Yordon said in the Thursday statement. “…We proposed a deal very similar to the one struck between the Board and NFT in 2003, when our contract was extended and the insurance was changed to resolve a budget crisis. What we asked for this year was essentially a status quo extension of the contract with raises in line with other towns in the area that have already been negotiated.”

According to NPS, accepting the deal proposed by NFT would eradicate the savings from the switch to CT Partnership 2.0.

The statement from NPS:

“As many are aware, an unprecedented increase in health insurances costs has left Norwalk Public Schools with a $6.6 million budget gap to be filled going into the 2017-18 school year. As a means of closing that gap, a proposal has been under consideration to switch healthcare providers for all our employees to the state’s health insurance plan, known as the Connecticut Partnership Plan 2.0. This same plan is currently offered to State of Connecticut employees, as well as school employees in Greenwich, Fairfield and Trumbull. The City is also looking at moving its employees into the same plan.

“Employees in the school district already pay healthcare costs that are considerably lower than what most employees in the private sector pay.  Yet this opportunity to reduce those costs even further is truly a “win-win.” The CT Partnership Plan would cost both employees and the district less money for comprehensive coverage, which includes benefits that are comparable to –  or even better than – our current high-deductible plans. Lower premium costs, lower out-of- pocket deductibles, and lower co-pays for prescription medications are just a few of the positives.

“Unlike other bargaining units in both Norwalk Public Schools and the City of Norwalk, the Norwalk Federation of Teachers has been unwilling to consider the switch to the CT Partnership Plan, without also getting an unprecedented increase in the length of their current contract (to five years), with built-in pay raises in excess of 3% per year. Following public discussions to consider what possible cuts might need to be made if we cannot close the budget gap, the NFT filed a labor complaint against the Norwalk Board of Education for publicly discussing its options.

“A public statement by the president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers issued yesterday indicated why the NFT rejected the proposal to go into the plan. However, there are several assertions in the statement that we believe are not accurate. To clarify:

  • “The proposed plan provides a 93% provider match compared to the current plan. The plan offered to recruit the remaining additional doctors if the NFT identifies those that may be missing.
  • “Deductibles will be lower than our current high deductible plans. But those lower annual deductibles can also be waived entirely by participating in the free Health Enhancement Program (HEP).
  • “The HEP includes incentives for routine wellness visits, getting preventative screenings, and enrolling in chronic disease education programs.
  • “Members with families will save about $400 per year in annual premiums, and about $130 for individual coverage. But the employee also saves money through lower (or no) deductibles. Overall savings, factoring in waiver of deductibles, can reach $1,200 for a single member and $2,400 for a family.


“Unfortunately, the “solution” advocated by NFT leadership is not one that we can accept in good conscience. The NFT’s proposal to extend the term of the current three year contract may have been agreed to once in the past, but circumstances are considerably different now than they were 14 years ago. Enrollment is increasing, costs are skyrocketing, and Norwalk taxpayers have a lot to shoulder. It would be irresponsible for this Board to extend the contract, and its associated costs and increases, into a five-year agreement. Caution is especially warranted in light of the current state budget crisis, which may impact funding for Norwalk. Norwalk’s talented and dedicated teachers are already among the best paid in Connecticut, for one of the shortest school days in the state. A two-year extension would automatically result in salary increases amounting to millions of dollars, and would cost the taxpayers at least twice as much as the savings that would be generated by moving into the new healthcare plan. There simply must be a balance between the legitimate needs of our teachers and the legitimate needs of the taxpayers.

“Norwalk Public Schools has been working productively with all of the district’s bargaining units on this topic. Just as other unions in both the City and the school system have agreed to move into the CT Partnership Plan, we remain hopeful that members of the NFT will choose to come on board as well.”

Norwalk Public Schools Statement on HealthCare Proposal

Health Insurance Email to Employees[1]

CT Partnership 2.0 NPS graph 20170519



One response to “NPS: Teacher’s union proposal would cost Norwalk millions of dollars”

  1. Srb

    More proof that a single payer system is the best option for the country. Employees and employers wouldn’t be saddled with these differentiated costs, programs and contract difficulties which have little to do with their work. For those who object, we already have a single payer system for the group that uses healthcare most.

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