MIDDLETOWN-Four candidates vying for votes next Tuesday on the Middletown Public School District Board of Education met on Thursday night at Lincroft School. The “BOE Meet the Candidates” forum was hosted by the Nut Swamp Elementary School PTA.
Tom Giaimo, who is running for office with Harrison Fox and Deborah Wright under the “New Voices” campaign slogan told the community at the event that if elected, he will provide teachers with free healthcare.
Giamio said teachers in the district deserve better salaries and fewer healthcare costs.
“We can lessen the burden we place on [teachers] today,” Giaimo said. “We should explore opportunities to minimize as best we can, the financial burden we put on our teachers for their medical insurance.”
Giaimo also said he would be in favor of increasing salaries for teachers in a district where public school teacher salaries are among the highest in the state. In the district, over 300 of the 1,000 teachers and administrators earn over $90,000 per year.
The Middletown Public School District already pays $27 million annually for health insurance benefits and teachers currently pay just 35% of their own health insurance premium cost. Free healthcare for teachers could increase taxes in the district by up to $6 million annually.
Giaimo said the teachers in his district already have to pay for school supplies out of their own pockets and that having to pay for health insurances is another unnecessary burden faced by teachers in the district.
He said the expenses teachers incur are, “absolutely absurd.”
Giaimo and his “new faces” team are being challenged by Joann Minnues and Dave Merces. Giaimo, lobbying for the political support of the district’s teachers also said, “I am the son of school teachers.”