Former superintendent, wife get free health care for life

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 4, 2012 at 9:53 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Former Ferguson-Florissant School Superintendent Jeff Spiegel and his wife are receiving free lifetime medical and dental coverage at the taxpayer's expense.

Spiegel got the stunning perk by agreeing to stay on the job for one more year. The plan was unanimously approved a few years ago by the school board, and there's no telling how much it could end up costing taxpayers.

Parents demanded to know why the school board agreed to give free lifetime coverage to the superintendent and his wife, just before the district cut $15 million from its budget. Former board president Les Lentz defended the decision.

"This doesn't cost the taxpayers any more money," Lentz said. "We didn't raise taxes. We didn't do anything. The tax rate is the same. And the money is future money."

But a little more than a year after Spiegel's departure, Ferguson-Florissant says it has already paid more than $19,000 for the couple's health care. Spiegel is still in his mid-50s. The cost of that coverage could get much more expensive as the Spiegels get older and face health problems. Even at the current rate, however, Spiegel's deal could cost taxpayers $330,000 if he lives to be 80.

Fore the last year, Spiegel has been paid $38 an hour as the temporary director of performance management for the St. Louis School District. The job does not include benefits, which Spiegel does not need since the Ferguson-Florissant district is paying for his coverage.

The Ferguson-Florissant school district says it's in negotiations with Spiegel, trying to change the agreement. Calls to Spiegel were not returned.

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