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GOP lawmakers ask White House to tally cuts in school workers' hours

Indiana’s seven Republican members of the U.S. House want the White House to account for cuts in school workers' hours related to the federal health care law.

Led by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, the GOP lawmakers point to the reduction in hours for part-time school workers in Fort Wayne, Lafayette and Shelbyville because of a pending provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Fort Wayne Community Schools on June 3 trimmed the hours of 610 cafeteria workers and teaching aides from 30 a week to 25 to avoid having to provide them with health insurance. The regulation, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

“Hundreds of middle class Hoosiers working in schools will now suffer the consequences of a law you told the American people would serve as a solution to making health care affordable for the middle class,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

The legislators ask whether Sebelius and Lew have projected the law’s effect on school work hours in each state; to provide the number of hours cut so far and the number of jobs affected; and to predict how many people will work 30 to 34 hours in 2014 compared with this year.

“Hoosiers and Americans across the country deserve to know how their federal government expected this law would impact their jobs,” the lawmakers wrote.

Stutzman’s office said he organized the effort.

According to media reports, Lafayette School Corp. is reducing the hours of 150 workers and Shelbyville Central School System is cutting the hours of about 100 instructional aides and an unspecified number of substitute teachers, bus drivers and coaches.