AISD to offer benefits to domestic partners


by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and Photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JadeM_KVUE

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin School District is planning to extend health insurance benefits to domestic partners.

The move comes a few months after the Pflugerville School District became the first in the state to offer same-sex benefits.

AISD will allow benefits for same-sex partners and unmarried couples who live together starting in September.

Right now employees pay $492 to $704 a month to cover a spouse. The rate will be the same for domestic partners. The district expects anywhere from 300 to 350 employees could take part in the new policy. It's expected to cost the district about $600,000. 

"Our families need a diversity of choices within our insurance plans. In order to serve them well as employees we need to make this an available option," said AISD superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen.

Pflugerville ISD requires employees to verify the relationship through a domestic partnership affidavit. It asks for proof that the couple has lived in the same residence for the past year and asks for supporting documents ranging from a mortgage, car titles or credit cards. AISD plans to implement something similar.

The policy is under fire from Republican state lawmaker Drew Springer of Muenster. He filed a bill that would penalize school districts who offer a domestic partnership policy by taking away funding for health insurance.

Conservative group Texas Values agrees. In a statement the group said, "If Austin ISD chooses to follow the reckless path of Pflugerville ISD and violate the Texas Constitution, they will have no one to blame but themselves when the Texas attorney general puts a stop to this injustice and disrespect toward voters statewide."

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