TRENTON, Sept. 19, 2022 –The New Jersey School Boards Association is expressing its disappointment concerning the approval today of double-digit premium increases in the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program for the plan year beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
NJSBA opposes the increases. Carl Tanksley, the Association’s acting general counsel and representative on the commission, cast the lone dissenting vote today.
For active employees, there will be a 15.6% increase for medical and a 10.8% increase for the prescription drug premium rates, for a total increase of 15.1%. A full report is available here.
These double-digit increases are far higher than they have been in recent history.
Increases to the SEHBP are largely paid by boards of education; many employees pay a percentage of their salary, not a percentage of the insurance premium, under changes implemented under Chapter 44. The increases also come after district budgets have been finalized, potentially forcing boards of education to cut programs for children as they search for ways to pay the additional costs.
In July, NJSBA urged members to inform the governor and their legislators about the potential impact on schools and ask them to search for strategies to limit increases for the 2023 plan year. The Association also provided a sample resolution opposing the proposed premium increases; several boards did pass such a resolution.
“The move could have a very negative impact on district budgets—and ultimately undermines student achievement,” said Irene LeFebvre, NJSBA president.
“School district budgets were finalized last spring,” noted Dr. Timothy Purnell, NJSBA executive director. “Such increases could force boards of education to reduce or remove instructional programs, services and staff that help our students. We urge the governor and Legislature to provide relief to local boards that have been affected by this.”
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.