The Lyons-Brookfield District 103 Board of Education voted to hire Lisle-based insurance brokers Connor & Gallagher to find new health insurance options for district employees at their meeting Thursday.
According to Marty Stack, human resources director for the district, Connor & Gallagher was the only firm to bid for the contact. Two other firms expressed interest bidding, but did not get their proposals in by deadline, Stack said.
The bidding process was opened May 11 and closed May 22. Asked if 11 days were enough time to allow companies to submit a proposal, Stack said he wasn’t sure, but said “I think that if you want somebody’s business, you find a way to get it in on time.”
During public comment earlier in the meeting, Molly Woo, the newly elected vice president of the district’s teachers union, asked the board to postpone the vote to allow time for the school board’s insurance committee to meet with teachers union.
“The union is in strong opposition to the approval of a medical insurance company tonight,” Woo said in her statement. “We ask that [the board postpone its vote] until a time when all of the stakeholders have a chance to fully understand it.”
Teachers union President Toni Brandt could not attend the meeting as she was accompanying students on a trip to Springfield.
When the board’s insurance committee met for the first time on May 4, Stack and committee members Jorge Torres and board President Michael Bennett told Brandt that the teachers union would play a role in the selection process and would have a seat at the table. Further, he said he was not opposed to forming a joint committee that would include teachers’ union representatives.
The board did not choose a new insurance company at the meeting, only a broker to help them find a new policy, Stack said. The board’s agenda for the meeting read that the board would be voting on approval of a medical insurance company. The agenda was not clearly written, he said.
Stack said that ultimately it is the board’s decision over whether to change insurance brokers or providers. He said that the board was moving quickly so that a new provider could be found before July 1.
Per the district’s agreement with the teachers’ union, Stack said the only requirement was that the district provide equivalent coverage, which he said the district would.
Stack said Connor & Gallagher will receive their commission from the insurance company selected for the district, not from District 103. However, he said he was unsure if the district would need to pay any administrative fees. Those, he said, would probably be negligible, he said.
Stack said he felt he was stuck in a no-win scenario with the teachers’ union. Previously, he said he had heard complaints from the union about their current insurance plan. Now, he said, he’s hearing that they don’t like the potential change.
The board made the decision to explore health insurance options after they had difficulty getting information about their policy from a representative of their current insurance provider, Stack said at the May 4 committee meeting.
“Basically, the service leaves a little to be desired, so we’ve come to the conclusion to see what else is out there,” he said at the time.
Stack said that Connor & Gallagher would get insurance for the district that would be equivalent to what is currently provided to the district’s teachers. He said he expects the district will save money.
Not all members of the board were convinced. Sharon Anderson and Joanne Schaeffer both voted against hiring Connor & Gallagher as a broker.
Both asked for more information to be provided to the board and the union, and questioned whether the firm had the experience to do the work.
Providing insurance for what Stack called “public entities like school districts” only makes up 10 percent of Connor & Gallagher’s business, Stack said.
“I don’t think that’s a problem,” he said after the meeting.
According to Stack, Connor & Gallagher said they were trying to break into the market to provide insurance for more public entities and would work hard for the district to show that they could do good work in the area.