The trials of senior citizens trying to balance increased expenses with fixed incomes are frequently in the news, and rural schools are in the same boat. Educational District budgets are strained, and the Affordable Health Care Act requires public employers, like schools, to meet new health coverage requirements.
Small districts are especially challenged. They cannot afford to pay the "non-certified" staff enough for the workers to afford insurance premiums, add them to existing coverage, or pay the penalties required if workers choose coverage through the insurance exchange.
Mike Shields with The Kansas Health Institute recently reported the Director of the North Central Kansas Special Education Interlocal 636, Chris Hipp, as saying one undesirable option would be to simply stop offering health coverage and pay the federal penalty. Hipp said he is changing careers, and one of the contributing factors was the stress of trying to find a solution to a problem where one cannot be found.