Teachers in Caddo Parish are not happy that health care insurance costs are expected to go up in the spring. The Board is set to discuss the issue at meetings in October, but teachers are worried that they could be facing a 5% increase in health premiums.

The Superintendent's office sent us this statement:

The five percent increase in insurance premiums is the single lowest increases in recent years for the district and among the lowest increases in premiums in the state of Louisiana and the country across any industry not just school boards. For example, average healthcare inflation is over 10 percent for any organization. This year as another example premiums on the Exchange made possible through the Affordable Care Act are increased in a single year by 32 percent or more.

Jackie Lansdale with the Red River United Teachers Union says they can no longer keep doing more work with less compensation. She says Caddo teachers were once among the highest paid teachers in the state, but they are now . They say they were once one of the highest paid in the state but are now near the bottom of the list in our region.

But the statement from the school system adds:

The premium increase will account for an average additional healthcare expense of $10 per month for most employees depending on their plan. It should be noted that this proposal also comes with a reduction in the employee's share of the premium on dental insurance.

A statement from Mary Nash Wood a spokeswoman for Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree says teachers and staff did get a 2 percent across the board pay raise in 2014. That was the first pay raise since 2008.

The statement also says:

The Board and the Superintendent are committed to determining a means of giving employees a pay raise but that raise must be viable and sustainable. It should also be noted that just this past June, the Board had to eliminate $10 million from its budget and did so without a layoff of any personnel. The pay raise is even a part of the Board’s strategic plan which was renewed on Tuesday night. The last pay raise approved by the Board in 2014 cost $6 million.