Pflugerville ISD to discuss benefits for domestic partners


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE and

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Posted on December 13, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 13 at 11:34 AM

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas -- The Pflugerville ISD School Board will take up the controversial issue of offering insurance benefits to domestic partners, including same sex couples.

The board will have a special meeting ahead of its regular meeting Thursday night. That meeting will be with the district's attorney to talk about legal issues related to the benefits plan.

But there is one school board member who wants to do away with the policy altogether.

On Oct. 18 many people piled into the PISD meeting to voice their opinions about the plan. Employees were allowed to sign up for a benefits plan that extended coverage to non-married domestic partners, both straight and gay.

Under the plan PISD will only pay to cover the district employee, and the employee pays the premiums for their partner. The plan won't cost the school district money, but many are still unhappy with it.

"The only reason we're talking about this on the news is it includes gay people, and some people don't like gay people," Chuck Smith with Equality Texas said.

"The majority of the community we believe would not approve of this if it were put to a referendum," Senior Pastor Steve Washburn with Pflugerville First Baptist Church said.

The new policy would go into effect Jan 1. If that happens, Pflugerville ISD would be one of the handful of districts in the nation to offer benefits to same sex partners.

In addition to not costing the district anything, supporters of the plan say it will help the district recruit and keep good teachers. But some argue that it's all a moral issue.