The good news, according to the fiscal note prepared by the Department of Finance, is that some school districts will lower costs and improve health services. The bad news?
...other districts would likely experience increases in costs and/or poorer health care coverage. There will be a mixture of winners and losers. For districts, there will be pressure in contract negotiation to gain back coverage losses, or to access district cost savings in the form of salary or other increases.
My home school district, Wayzata, woud likely fall into the "losers" category under this legislation. Because the district saw this coming, its legislative platform includes this plank: "Continue to allow school districts to have local control and flexibility in designing health care plans that meet the needs of their employees." An optional pool would be OK, freeing districts to join or not depending on local circumstances. (I am a parent serving on Wayzata's LAC but obviously the opinions expressed here are my own.)
In related legislation, both HF 2833, the Omnibus State Government Finance Bill, and HF 4040, the Omnibus Education Finance Bill, contain language prohibiting school employees from using district funds or resources, including time, materials, equipment, facilities and communication technologies, among other resources, to advocate for electing or defeating a candidate, passing or defeating a ballot question, or passing or defeating pending legislation.
Legislative action committees of school districts have always been nonpartisan and stayed away from endorsing candidates for office, but where did the gag order on advocating for "passing or defeating pending legislation" (such as the mandatory insurance pool bills) come from?
This provision would force local school districts to defer to the teachers union's judgement on all legislation. I guess having its headquarters across the street from the Capitol isn't enough for Education Minnesota.