School boards prep for insurance hikes
by Mark Andrews
Oct 12, 2012 | 1890 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Chief Financial Officer Todd Hooper addressed with concern Monday the continual increase in cost of employee health insurance and the impact this increase could have on the system next budget. Open enrollment for employee health insurance began this week and reflects the increases.

“As we start into the budget year obviously one of the things that has affected us this year is we all know school systems have to pay $150 a month more for [each] non-certified employee and that will continue to increase each year,” Hooper said during the Bartow County Board of Education’s work session. “The board now pays $450 roughly per [non-certified] employee each month.

“With the open enrollment, those premiums for employees, depending on what elections they choose and what tiers of coverage — [employees, employees with children and employees with their families] — the increases are going to be in the neighborhood of 5 percent to 30 percent. In the past it has been 10 percent for employees only. ... One of the things that will happen is ... under the traditional plan for most employees under a wellness [health risk assessment] their deductible this year is currently $3,250 on a family, that will go to a $4,000 deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum will go from $7,000 a year to $9,000.”

He added, “Keep in mind the state of Georgia this year elected not to supplement non-certified employees’ health insurance. That’s $0 we get for [example] bus drivers, clerical and nutrition employees.

“I think it’s important for the community to know what the impact is for our employees.”

The system has about 445 non-certified employees. In an effort to cut down on some insurance costs, Cartersville city rifted paraprofessionals and bus monitors before fall semester and began using Ashton Staffing — who also provides insurance — to rehire these employees, or any new employees, for these non-certified positions.

The board will hold its regular business session Monday at 6 p.m. in the central office board room.

On Monday, Cartersville City Board of Education approved four bids totaling $139,214 in technology, which includes network and Dell and NetApp computer equipment as well as labor to provide a disaster recovery site.

“This will enhance our backup capabilities with all kinds of data information,” Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said. “We already backup things like payroll and employee information; this will enhance and expand our capabilities by providing duplicate information in a separate site within the system so that in case of a disaster the information would be seamlessly recaptured with loss or delay.”

The board also approved a bid of $17,306 for playground equipment for Cartersville Primary School, which will be used to build an additional playground.

“The school feels we are losing a few minutes of valuable instruction time when K-1 students have to travel across the large campus at CPS. They are actually looking at two locations on the school site both of which would cut down travel time,” Clouse said. “They are looking at infrastructure issues — like underground utilities — to see which site is most cost effective and conducive to locating the new playground.”