Montoursville board looks at Obamacare

Montoursville Area School District officials agreed that complying with provisions under the Affordable Care Act, generally referred to as Obamacare, could prove challenging.

School board members Tuesday night had a chance to learn about some of the changes in coverage for school districts.

Business Manager Robert Saul said that among the major changes will involve offering coverage to employees who work more than 30 hours a week or 130 hours per month.

The coverage, he noted, must be “reasonable” under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Districts that fail to offer insurance to eligible employees will face monetary penalties.

Some of the biggest challenges will amount to managing the system and tracking the number of hours employees work.

“That’s what going to keep me awake at night,” said Superintendent Dr. Timothy Bowers.

Some board members questioned if, for example, athletic coaches could receive coverage if they work 30 or more hours a week.

Questions also arose about paying substitute teachers who work in more than one school district.

In other matters, Bowers reported to the board that the district’s speech therapist is retiring in January.

He said the board will be faced next month with deciding whether to hire another person to fill the job or to contract out those services.

Given the current heavy caseload of students utilizing speech therapy, Bowers said it probably would be best for the district to have its own professional on staff.

The alternative, he said, is making use of a speech therapist either from a private agency or the Intermediate BLaST Unit, which could result in higher costs for the district.

In personnel matters, the board approved the resignation of part-time cafeteria worker Nancy Gibson and the hiring of Paula Robinson to the same position.

The board also approved an unpaid leave of absence from Oct. 28 to Nov. 18 for Linda Leavitt, an aide at C.E. McCall Middle School.