- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott is proposing that Vermont’s teachers negotiate their health benefits directly with the state, instead of their local school boards.

The plan must go through the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe said the plan is not going to fly this year. Ashe said the proposal came too late and there are parts of the plan that need vetting.

Scott’s plan takes advantage of unique timing: all school districts are negotiating their contracts this year, and the teachers’ health care provider, the Vermont Education Health Initiative, is changing their offerings. Scott says property tax payers can save up to $26 million.

Darren Allen, a spokesman for the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association, said the proposal is an assault on collective bargaining rights.

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