Medical, dental and vision insurance is free to all of the Kirkwood School District's 659 employees. This practice is a remnant of an era when health insurance was cheap and teachers were underpaid. Neither is true any longer in the Kirkwood district, nor is available to hardly anyone in the private sector. For a district looking to trim costs and save teaching jobs, one would think that this cost would be scrutinized. Click on Page 1 and Page Two links below to view the enrollment form for more details on insurance.
Once you open the form look under section C, D and E.
Most American workers pay at least part of their insurance premium. According to a Kaiser Foundation study (look at the paragraph referenced under Exhibit E), the average American worker's contribution is $1,071 a year for health insurance. Figures for vision and dental insurance were not available, but that cost would probably add $10-$20 per month.
Free health insurance disappeared decades ago in the private sector. Why it persists in the public sector probably can be explained by the fact that many of the people making benefit decisions are themselves getting free insurance.
District health insurance costs are up almost $2 million in the last decade, and many Kirkwood administrators and teachers now make more than $100,000 a year.
If the Kirkwood district's employees contributed somewhere around the the national average for medical, dental and vision -- about $110 a month -- the district would save almost $900,000 a year. That money would save the jobs of many teachers, with positive impact on the district's student:teacher ratio.