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Pontiac School Employees May Lose Health Benefits

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PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) - Teachers and other employees of the cash-strapped Pontiac school district have been notified that they may lose coverage this year because of nearly $12 million in unpaid premiums.

The issue came up at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Aimee McKeever, president of the Pontiac Education Association union, wants the district to pay so 350 workers and their families can continue receiving health care. Coverage could end July 31.

The debt includes $7.8 million owed to the Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA), which is the insurance carrier for Michigan Education Association members, for the 2012 school year. There’s also $3.7 million that’s unpaid since January.

“This is the first time in our 50-year history that we’ve encountered a school district that has completely ignored its contractual obligation and so ignored the health and well-being of its employees,” Gary Fralick, MESSA spokesman, said.

The district’s finances are being reviewed by the state.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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