JCPS faces Affordable Care Act implications

Jefferson City Public Schools administrators are weighing options to fund benefits for substitute teachers.

Under the Affordable Care Act, they must provide coverage to anyone who regularly works 30 hours a week. That applies to about 25 substitute teachers, who are not currently receiving benefits from the school district.

JCPS Chief Financial Officer Jason Hoffman says that totals about $150,000 per year.

One option presented at Monday's board meeting is to take the money from the district's general operating budget.

Another option is to subcontract the substitute teachers to a temp agency.

"They [the agency] do substitutes basically for all kinds of industries and they have an educational wing and they provide substitute services. So they would take on all the administrative pieces of training the subs, hiring the subs, doing all that...but also providing all the necessary benefits for them going forward," Hoffman said.

Under this option, all current substitute teachers would get to keep their jobs; however, they would be employees of the temp agency rather than JCPS.

A third option is to pay the fines associated with not complying with the law. Hoffman says that option cannot be considered.

"It's my understanding that if you're found in violation of the law you take all the people that are benefit-eligible and you basically have to pay a $2,000 penalty for all [those] people...And for us we have about 1,100 benefit-eligible people so that would be a very large penatly," he said.

Hoffman says they will make a recommendation on course of action at the January board meeting.