ATLANTA — On Wednesday, Georgia House leaders rejected Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to cut health insurance benefits to non-certified, part-time school employees, but they increased employer contributions to cover the cost, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

As previously reported, House leaders opposed Deal’s plan to stop subsidizing State Health Benefit Plan coverage for part-time school workers, such as bus drivers. Bus drivers and teachers lobbied the General Assembly for more than a month to reject the governor’s proposal, which the administration said would save the state about $81 million a year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The increased contributions from school districts to pay for the insurance for the approximately 22,000 employees totals $102.8 million, according to the newspaper.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $21.8 billion budget for fiscal 2016, which begins July 1, that includes major increases in spending on education, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The full House is expected to approve the budget Thursday, and the Senate will then review the spending plan, the newspaper reports.

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