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Letters to the Editor: State deal for teachers smart

Three cheers for Angelo’s trenchant editorial of April 27 strongly urging Democrats not to dismiss, but to embrace Governor Scott’s proposal to create a state-wide healthcare contract for teachers and school employees which, it is estimated, could save us taxpayers — hold on to your chairs — a cool $26 Million. All the more so since this seems to be a one-time opportunity.
The initial reaction of the Democratic majority was predictably negative and therefore procedural — too late in the session, not enough committee hearings etc., etc., even while our Senate was leaning toward education provisions in the proposed budget that, if passed, would actually increase property taxes, even as student populations continued their decline! The power of the teachers union was clearly in evidence all around.
As Angelo’s editorial rightly points out, the Governor’s proposal would not in any way affect teachers’ health care benefits or their collective bargaining rights, but would replace the current checkerboard pattern of teachers’ health care arrangements with a fairer system of parity across the state. What’s more its blindingly obvious that the state of Vermont is in a better position to negotiate a satisfactory but much less expensive health care deal than each little school district can do on its own. So what’s not to like?
Lastly, this is not a partisan issue but plain common sense. It will be interesting to learn whether our local Senators and Representatives will rise to the occasion.
George Jaeger
New Haven

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