Education A National Roundup

Minn. District Ordered to Pay for Changing Teachers’ Benefits

By Linda Jacobson — January 25, 2005 1 min read

The West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan school district in Minnesota has been ordered by a Dakota County judge to pay the West St. Paul Federation of Teachers roughly $300,000 in damages for illegally reducing teachers’ health-insurance benefits.

When faced with rising health-insurance premiums, the 5,300-student district raised out-of-pocket expenses for teachers who chose a particular health-coverage plan. The union, which was in the process of negotiating a new contract for 2003 through 2005, never agreed to the change.

The damages equal the amount the district saved by increasing costs to the teachers.

Judge Robert R. King Jr. also ordered on Jan. 7 that the district reinstate the old plan.

Harley Ogata, the lawyer for Education Minnesota, an affiliate of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, said the funds would be returned to the teachers who were affected.

A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week