School Board likely faces new health care costs

  • Thursday, October 24, 2013

STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT After presenting a look at departmental budget in a workshop Tuesday, Aiken School District Comptroller Tray Traxler, left, talks with School Board member Tad Barber.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act eventually could cost the Aiken County School District from $300,000 to $400,000 a year, District Comptroller Tray Traxler told School Board members during a budget workshop on Tuesday.

Those costs are rough estimates based on the number of employees who may or could average 30 hours of service every week.

Traxler said about 97 would appear to potentially meet that criteria and thus be considered permanent employees and eligible for the District’s health insurance program.

Each employee formally added to the program could cost the District $3,000 to $6,000 annually as its contribution, depending on whether the employee has a child who qualifies.

In addition, the District can expect increases in retirement system costs and health premiums, which already happened in the current year.

The District administration and the Board members agreed to move up budget discussions this year for 2014-15. The intent is to go more deeply into departmental and program budgets – eventually considering what expenditures are essential and those that may not be needed in a tough fiscal year.

Traxler explained departmental funds that included the School Board, the office of the superintendent, human resources, offices of other District administrators, the School Board attorney, business services, attendance and purchasing.

Some budgets can be misleading, he said. The School Board’s budget in the current year is $475,508, which includes District audit fees, legal fees, other purchased services and fund modifications that stem from unused supplemental funds that go to attendance Area 4.

The department that administers homebound instruction has a budget of $955,051. The District serves about 800 students every year, resulting in 8.5 full-time equivalent staffers and other teachers providing extra duty.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, introduces the 30-hour requirement. Such personnel who could gain new eligibility through the new regulation, will have to be offered health care insurance, although they could decline it.

The School Board will meet on Tuesday for a regular Board meeting. Another budget session is scheduled at the District office for Oct. 29.

Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter.

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