The Deeper Dig: The $26 million question

Teachers rally
Teachers rally at the Statehouse on Wednesday to protest the governor’s proposed changes to collective bargaining. Photo by Michael Dougherty/VTDigger
Earlier in the legislative session, Gov. Phil Scott announced a proposal to shift collective bargaining on teachers’ health plans from the local level to the state level. Now, the Legislature has been facing the threat of a budget veto while preparing to adjourn for the year. In this first installment of a new podcast, VTDigger’s Mark Johnson and Elizabeth Hewitt describe how we got here.


If you read us, please support us.

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer.

We moderate every comment. Please go to our FAQ for the full policy.

Mike Dougherty

Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "The Deeper Dig: The $26 million question"
  • Willem jewett

    Question one – how much of Gov Scott’s so called $26 million (actually $13 million in FY 18) comes from assumptions on reduced utilization? And, if they are held harmless, are these assumptions realistic?

    Question two – how much of it comes from an assumption that he can achieve an 80/20 split in statewide negotiations?

    Question three – isn’t it likely that whatever “savings” are achieved will drift back to teachers in salary negotiAtions?

    Question four – why hasn’t anyone dug into these issues?

    • Dave Bellini

      You’re asking all the right questions Willem. No matter what side one is on, legislators make questionable assumptions for everything.

      • John Freitag

        Everyone agree there will be considerable savings with teachers no longer able to get their “Cadillac Health Plan” and needing to go to the top of the line “Gold Plans” available in Vermont.
        A good way to deal with any questions regarding how much savings there would actually be would be to dedicate all the savings to the underfunded teachers retirement fund. Teachers would benefit by ensuring the solvency of this fund and the State and taxpayers would benefit by having this obligation be met and not needing as was done in the Senate passed budget this year to increase property taxes to pay for the teachers retirement fund. It does mean long term budgeting something that people have been loath to do but, like a balloon mortgage, something that is best not to ignore until it is too late. Perhaps this might still be the basis for a compromise as it would not be part of the already passed budget.

  • Giovanna Peebles

    Great podcast, Digger team! Thank you! Helped clarify what’s going on with that. Great hearing your voice, Mark!

  • Bobby Taylor

    The assertion being made that people on School Boards are being out negotiated by fancy union reps, is an “alternative fact” as they say.

    School Board members get assistance/guidance from the VT School Boards Association, VT Association of School Business Officials, along with their local Superintendents, Business Managers, hired Mediators, Fact Finders, and private Contract Attorneys.

    This is not a Dick and Jane School Board members from down the road meeting with slick Union Lawyers, type of situation.

    I’m not sure why VT Digger would perpetuate these types of tropes, but it is simply a false narrative.

    • Lester French

      In my experience the superintendent and school administration are working more for the teachers and not so much for the taxpayers.

  • John farrell

    yes teachers are very important but they should be paying more for their health insurance as regular folks do.

  • ThomasPowell

    That was an terrific podcast. Two excellent and balanced contributors to the discussion. No Faux News here.