A fight is brewing over at least one element of Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget plan for 2016. Under the proposal, more than 11,000 school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other part-time school workers would lose health benefits. The cut would save the state more than $100 million annually.
House leaders, however, are hinting they don’t agree with Deal’s plan. They’ve recently inserted language to the mid-year 2015 budget that says school workers are “an essential part of the education delivery system.” They add that any new budget agreement should include “an examination of options to provide health benefits to these workers.”
Labor groups have already begun mobilizing against the cuts. They say the change would cause significant worker shortages across the state. State superintendent Richard Woods, a Republican, has also said he wants to find a way to continue providing the health benefits.