Some want issue placed on ballot
At a board meeting last month, Havins called for the issue to be put on the agenda.
Several other trustees weighed in prior to the vote, to provide their reasons for supporting the benefits.
“We’ve worked really hard in this district to teach our students that every person has value and deserves to be treated with dignity,” said Trustee Carol Fletcher, prior to the vote. “It means everyone. There are no exceptions to our policy. This is just good business.”
Prior to the vote, about 40 people addressed the board, most in favor of keeping the insurance benefits.
“We feel if you take these benefits away that we may be discriminating against PISD employees who qualify for domestic benefits,” said August Plock, president of the Pflugerville Educators Association, a local affiliate of the Texas State Teachers Association.
Michael Clinkscales, a gay father of four district children, told board members that rescinding the more expansive benefits policy could create an atmosphere and culture of intolerance.
“If your policies encourage intolerance, then your teachers are going to be intolerant,” Clinkscales said. “And if your teachers are intolerant, then the children are going to suffer. My children are going to suffer. If you want to recruit and retain the best, you’re going to have
parent to be the best. I know Pflugerville can do it. Be the best.”
But others asked for the board to bring the issue before voters.
First Baptist Church of Pflugerville pastor Steve Washburn said his stand against the benefits was not hateful.
“I have devoted my whole life to loving people,” Washburn said. “I do not hate. That is not my reputation. This is simply a matter of where the majority lies.” Washburn pointed to an online survey by a local publication that showed two-thirds of those who responded were against the district extending the benefits.
Five employees signed up to enroll a domestic partner during the Oct. 22 to Nov. 6 enrollment period.
Those employees were required to sign an affidavit stating they have jointly shared a permanent residence for at least one year and had to show proof of at least two of the following: a joint lease, mortgage or deed; joint ownership of a vehicle; joint ownership of banking or credit card accounts; or proof of power of attorney or a will attesting to the domestic partner as a beneficiary of life insurance.
The district pays only for employee coverage. Employees pay premiums for family members, and the same practice will be in place for domestic partners.
The district began offering the benefits after representatives from the employee insurance advisory committee came forward with the recommendation, saying a handful of employees had asked for the benefits.
Contact Melissa Taboada at 445-3620. Twitter: @melissataboada