With state budget cuts as high as $6 million per year, the San Angelo Independent School District (SAISD) eliminated 54 positions, 25 via retirement and 29 did not have their contracts renewed. SAISD will likely cut the health insurance benefit by eliminating pharmacy coverage. Employees will need to pay a portion of the premium to retain their current coverage. It's not clear how much. The Standard Times reported:
"When you don't give a person a salary increase or like last year, 1 percent, and you increase health insurance costs, it is a pay cut."--Superintendent Carol Ann Bonds
The 29 employees losing their job will also lose health care coverage. How many more will drop coverage under increased premium sharing? The City of San Angelo drove 192 people from the rolls undertaking such a strategy.
In Year 2 of the crisis, SAISD likely will "get out of the health insurance business." That's a year before PPACA brings any significant relief to people without health coverage. The problem is PPACA expands Medicaid by 15 million people. The Texas Legislature is in the process of gutting Medicaid. What will be left by 2014? How tattered will the flag get under "Texas' Great ExPerryment?"
Update 3-31-11: SAISD will sell land on Knickerbocker Road for $1.9 million. Government asset sales are one method for funding deficits.