Money intended as health care supplement due to cut backs
Budget cuts are tough and reports indicate they are continuing to take place.
There’s one approach, employed by the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District (LCISD), that perhaps may soften the cut-back blow.
After a four month review that started in May about how to handle increased costs of an employee health care plan along with the need to cut budget costs, LCISD has decided it will give its eligible employees $500 each as a one-time health care supplement. The money is intended to offset increases in insurance premiums for the 2011-12 school year.
LCISD’s Communications Relations Executive Director Christy Willman said the district board of trustees approved the supplement last week on Tuesday, when the school budget was also adopted. She reports that the district budgeted $1.4 from its general fund for the local health care supplement.
“All full time staff will receive the one-time supplement, whether they opt to take our insurance or not,” she said.
LCISD has a 326 plus full- time staff and an additional 243 of its workforce is part- time. The district told the “Star” that it also has an estimated 1,050 employees representing substitutes and other part-time staff, who are not eligible for benefits.
“Employees will receive the one-time payment in September,” said Willman, noting that the money would not be eligible compensation under the Teacher Retirement System. Part-time employees that are eligible for benefits will receive a pro-rated portion of the $500 based on the percentage of time they work, said Willman.
She also said the school district’s administration and a district insurance committee reviewed ways to maintain the financial stability of LCISD’s Self-Insured Health Plan. “Adjustments had to be made to plan benefits,” and premiums had to be increased accounting for an amount expected to exceed 15 percent, which included claims, prescription drugs and fees. The effort to determine a plan of action was underway, “at the same time all school districts in Texas expected large cuts in state funding.,” said Willman, noting that LCISD would no longer be able to continue to absorb the bulk of plan increases as it had in the past.
LCISD’s insurance plan is administrated by United Health Care.