BOE has Financial Hearing to Discuss Healthcare Increases

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During the February 15th Board of Education financial hearing, the board was addressed by Chief Financial Officer Amy Burgess about what to expect in their fiscal year 2013 budget because of the encroaching cost of healthcare plans.

To help the board realize what they would be facing in their budget, Burgess first informed the board what they would have to pay next year based on the current state health insurance plan. Burgess told the board that the reason she wanted to discuss this is because a lot of people have been confused about the subject because of a recent 150 a month increase in the state health insurance plan for non-certified employees. Burgess told the board that these increases would be paid by the BOE and not the employees.

Burgess then began to explain what the BOE is required to pay in healthcare for school employees currently. For every person that is employed by the school system and receives a health insurance plan, Burgess said that there is a required match that the BOE must pay. Burgess said that by calculating 18.534 percent of a certified employees state based pay they are able to tell how much they will have to match on behalf of that employee. Burgess said that they also know how much they are required to pay for their 287 non certified employees with the recent 150 a month increase included. Altogether, Burgess told the board that the total cost the BOE will have to pay next year (no matter what) will be 4.8 million dollars. Following the statement, Superintendent Ben Desper informed the board that is more than 10% of their whole budget and it would go just to pay that matching portion.

Burgess then informed the board that as a benefit and not a requirement the BOE pays a single coverage medical plan based on the employee’s choice of plan. Burgess told the board that they should to expect to pay $800,000 because of this benefit next year if they continue to do this.

The problem, Burgess said, is that they received an email saying they would have to change how they are to calculate a certified employee’s portion, but the change would be budgeted neutrally. Already, Burgess doesn’t like the sound of this. After the meeting, Burgess told FYN that as of right now she doesn’t know exactly what kind of increase the BOE should expect in their budget.

In a later email, Superintendent Desper told FYN that in the next three years

,” we will be forced to pay $746.00 per month, per classified employee. We now pay $296.00. The increase will mean an additional $542,000 per year for our budget.”

Desper also mentioned in the email that Pickens pays between $80.00 per month and $130 per person per month in single coverage benefit plans.

“The price increases will be a major issue for our budget,” Desper said in the email, “How we will pay for it is now being discussed.”

Desper said that it will probably be June before a decision is made.

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