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EDITORIAL — Offer health insurance to all school employees

Charlotte County School Board Member Jay George is exactly right that it is unfair for school board members to be able to participate in the school system’s group health insurance plan when other part-time employees such as cafeteria staff and bus drivers cannot, but his plan to remedy the situation is all wrong.

George made a motion at the last school board meeting to eliminate health insurance as a benefit for school board members. The motion George should have made to fix the situation was to allow all part-time workers of Charlotte County Public Schools to be eligible for health insurance though the school system.

Health insurance is a crucial benefit for workers but one often denied part-time employees, causing them to often go without insurance. Instead of attempting to take punitive action against the one school board member who is taking advantage of the health insurance option, George should have moved to make the entire school system better and healthier by ensuring everyone who works for Charlotte County Schools has an opportunity to purchase health insurance for their family.

Think of the recruiting advantage Charlotte County would have if it was able to allow part-time employees to purchase health insurance as a benefit of their employment with the school system. School systems across the country complain about school bus driver shortages and the inability to find workers while paying minimal wages and offering no benefits.

George wants to vote to take away a fellow board member’s opportunity for health insurance to make a political point and save a few bucks. The better opportunity is to provide health insurance for all. That would be real progress for Charlotte County School employees.

(The views in this editorial are of The Charlotte Gazette editorial staff. This editorial was written by Editor Roger Watson. He can be reached at Editor@TheCharlotteGazette.com or (434) 808-0622.)