Many Arkansas public school employees are going to see their take-home pay go down when they're going to have to shell out more for healtcare coverage starting next year.
Some of that has to with healthcare costs going up, and some of it has to do with politics.
Jaime Rollans is an Art History teach in Little Rock, and like many other educators, she's beginning to wonder if affordable health insurance is becoming history.
For some, premiums are going up 21 percent, and the state most likely won't have $88 million to offset that.
One teacher says the higher rates will cut into half of her take-home pay, while another teacher fears she'll lose a third of hers.
"Teaching is not a profession you go into to get rich, but we have to make a liveable wage and we have to be able to take care of ourselves," says
Rollans, who's been teaching for more than 30 years, is one of the lucky ones. Her rates are only going up $40 a month, but that's because she doesn't have dependents and her district kicks in more for her healthcare.
When it comes to teaching, like other public service jobs, having a good benefits package makes up for working in a field that doesn't pay as well as the private sector.
"If that is eroded then we're probably in greater danger than others, one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy in America is often times the cost of healthcare," says
State lawmakers didn't commit as much money to their healthcare plans as they did for state employees, and education lobbyist Richard Abernathy says a lot of school workers are going to feel the pinch.
"Ultimately it comes straight out of the teacher's pocket, the custodian's pocket, the bus driver's pocket," Abernathy says. "They're going to be the ones taking home less money."
It's going to take more than just putting pencil to paper to solve this problem, as the rate hikes go into effect in January.
Most teachers just want this to stop.
In some cases, the disparity between what state employees pay in insurance premiums compared to public school employees is five times the rate.