The Leaflet: Affordable Care Act Forces Louisiana Public Schools to Cut Hours

Published November 20, 2014

Affordable Care Act Forces Louisiana Public Schools to Cut Hours

 A provision in the Affordable Care Act has caused the public school system in Louisiana to rely more heavily on substitute teachers. The ACA requires employers to offer health insurance coverage to workers employed 30 hours or more per week. A non-compliant school would incur a fine up to $2,000 per person.

Will Sentell, a reporter for the Advocate, wrote  in a recent article, “Worries about running afoul of the Affordable Care Act  – also known as “Obamacare” – have forced officials in Ascension Parish to turn the hunt for substitute teachers to a staffing agency to track hours and avoid federal penalties.” Substitute teachers are paid on average just $60 to $80 per day, a rate that limits the pool of top-tier talent.

Public schools in North Carolina also are facing hurdles as they attempt to comply with the law. In the eastern part of the state, Pitt County is limiting substitute teachers to 90 hours a month. Pitt County Superintendent Brock Letchworth was quoted as saying, “Ultimately we can’t afford to provide the health insurance.”

Although substitute teachers can be talented, in most cases they’re no “substitute” for full-time, dedicated classroom teachers. The Affordable Care Act is putting students in Louisiana and around the nation at a disadvantage. 

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