New Rochelle Board of Education President Reads Prepared Statement at Special Meeting of the Board on Medical Insurance Debts

Written By: Robert Cox

[the video begins about 15 seconds in the remarks; we will post the full video and remarks when they become available on the District web site]

…for past due balances on my family’s health insurance coverage to which I, and all other Board of Education members, are entitled by law to subscribe.

It is the identical plan which is offered to all full-time School District employees for themselves and their families but unlike paid employees of the District, Board members who, the community is aware, serve without compensation are required to pay the full premium when billed each month.

For individuals who are not District employees for whom the unsubsidized full-cost is in excess of $1,700 per month this is not coverage that an individual normally would seek out if there were other available options.

In my own case, when my wife became another long-term unemployed statistic of the last recession this was the coverage that I could obtain so my family would be protected.

There is much in the recent reporting that is editorial and conclusory in nature and certain items which are asserted to be fact simply are invented.

I will not engage myself and my family in any undertaking to sift the fact from the fantasy not here today and not ever, however…

It is a fact that I, like millions of Americans have suffered significant personal financial distress through the recent recession.

It is a fact that I fell increasingly behind in my health insurance premium obligations to the school district.

It is a fact that at $1,700 per month the accruals became substantial.

It also is a fact that the District continued to bill me each and every month for all arrears.

It is a fact that I neither sought nor ever was offered nor otherwise received any write-off for any part of my obligation.

And it is a fact that when cash resources finally became available to me I paid off the entire balance of my arrears to the penny.

I deeply regret that I was unable to prevent myself from falling into this situation that I did. Had I been able to make my payments on time I surely would have done so.

I am embarrassed for myself and I am sorry that my family should be dragged through this humiliating muck.

I am sorry for any appearance of impropriety but it is another fact that being behind in one’s payment obligations to any creditor is not a crime, it is a tragedy.

People have lost their homes in this recession, they have lost their businesses, they have lost the legacies they had hoped to leave to their children. There are few families that have escaped completely untouched. It is a tragedy not a crime.

I apologize to my Board colleagues tonight for the second time. I had informed them privately of my situation on April 10th prior to the publication of the first report. They are not responsible for what happened and they had no knowledge of my private circumstances.

I apologize to the staff of the school district and to the community whom I have served faithfully on this board for nearly 23 years.

I do not wish for anyone to know any financial distress.

And that is all I will say on this subject in the Board of Education or in any other form.

Thank you.