PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - Open enrollment for Pflugerville Independent School District employees started this week -- but a new option available to employees is not going over so well with everyone in the community.
On Thursday night, there was standing room only at the district's regular scheduled board meeting.
Dozens of people showed up to tell board members how they felt about the district's decision to offer benefits for same-sex and heterosexual domestic partners for the first time.
"I know the decision to offer benefits to domestic partners (including same-sex partners) must have weighed in greatly on the district knowing that it would not be popular with some," said Carrie Reemer, "But I'm proud to work in such a forward-thinking school district."
"Everyone is not going to hold the exact same values -- I understand that and I respect that -- but it feels like the values of the significant part of this community were pretty much ignored," said Steve Kleen.
Pflugerville Superintendent Charles Dupre said the decision was made by the district's Insurance committee and was not required to be voted on by the PISD School Board. He said it is not a political statement, but rather, a business decision that does not cost the district or the taxpayers.
The school district only covers the district employee. The employee is required to pay the premium for any dependents on the policy.
"This is not a political statement -- it's a business decision in Pflugerville ISD to help our people feel value," said Dupre. "This is not simply about same sex. This is about domestic partnerships of all types -- heterosexual and homosexual."
In order to enroll a domestic partner in the benefit program at PISD, the employee must fill out an affidavit and provide proof of domestic partnership, by proving, for example, of the couple sharing the same residence, joint ownership of a vehicle or bank account or credit card, among other things.
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According to The Associated Press, about 14,000 Texans enrolled for health insurance in October and November on the embattled federal online exchange.
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