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Jackson-Madison County School System Superintendent Marlon King recommended that the district pay for all its employees’ 2% increases to their insurance premiums – meaning the amount the employees pay won’t increase.

© Stephanie Amador, Stephanie Amador / The Jackson Sun Superintendent Marlon King looks over his notes during the school board meeting at Liberty High School in Jackson, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

The recommendation is an example of him keeping his promise to invest in people, board member Shannon Stewart said in the board’s monthly board meetings this week.

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“When we interviewed you last spring, you said you wanted to invest in people,” Stewart told King as he nodded his head. “I just want to note that this is a practical way that you are investing in the people of this school district.

“I want to thank you because you made good on that promise.”

The last time there was an increase, the district split the increased premium costs 50/50 with employees. Covering the 2% increase in addition to the 50% it pays is estimated to cost JMCSS $61,854 extra.

“We want to begin to provide a great compensation and benefit package for all of our employees, and I think this is a way to start,” King said.

There were more than 1,000 active participants and about 150 retired participants enrolled in the health insurance plan as of August 2020.

Before the increase, a premium split cost the district around $7,093,961.

With the increase in coverage from December to June, the district would pay approximately $7,155,815.

The board unanimously approved the recommendation Thursday.

Because employees won’t have to pay for that increase, employees will continue paying the same premium amount.

© Stephanie Amador, Stephanie Amador / The Jackson Sun Shannon Stewart looks over her notes as she asks a question during the school board meeting at Liberty High School in Jackson, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

“They’re not going to feel the increase,” Stewart said. “And, really, we’re not going to feel the increase because you and your team have done a good job of finding ways to save money.”

Board member Janice Hampton and chairman James “Pete” Johnson commended King’s leadership as well. It offsets additional costs to the district’s employees, and that will mean a lot to them, Hampton said.

Johnson said the board was making good decisions to assist its employees, especially during the pandemic and with this year’s budget constraints.

It’s the new beginning of what the district will do to assist its employees, Hampton said.

Lasherica Thornton is The Jackson Sun’s education reporter. Reach her at 731-343-9133 or by email at lthornton@jacksonsun.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LashericaT

This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: JMCSS to pay for insurance rate increases; board says King is ‘investing in the people’

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