This past Monday included the Finance Committee, the Policy Committee, and Regular School Board Meetings.
Dependent Eligibility Audit
Because of Obamacare’s sub-26 requirement, being a self-insurer, and the rising costs of healthcare, the District has been left with little option but to investigate and pursue a Dependent Eligibility Audit.
Each year, health care plans unknowingly subsidize the cost of health care benefits for ineligible dependents. Without an effective eligibility verification process in place, the District could be spending hundreds of thousands every year on completely unnecessary health care expenses.
Dependent Eligibility Audits will demand proof that spouses and children qualify for medical benefits, with some reports claim audits are finding up to 15% of those claimed as dependents aren’t entitled to coverage. The District will be providing a period to remove ineligible dependents without penalty. However, the Board is also investigating all possible administrative and legal remedies against those who fraudulently claim ineligible dependents moving forward.
The Board was informed that a property (undeveloped lot) on Green Street, in Parkesburg, went to Judicial Sale with $3,677.35 in unpaid property taxes by the owners (Crystal Springs). The Chester County Tax Claim Bureau has received a bid, and will be selling the property for $500. The sale removes liens for the unpaid taxes, and will be owned free and clear. The Assessed Value of the property is $18,000.
Budget Discussions are heating up during Finance Committee Meetings, and I suspect will eventually overflow in the Board Meetings. Here is the reality:
- Actual costs have remained flat at $44.3 Million over the last 3 years, while budgets have continued to grow.
- Since 2009-10, the gap between Actual Costs and the Budgets have grown from $659,023 to $2,387,726 in 2012-13.
- The District Business Office is currently projecting the 2013-14 year will end with actual costs of $46.9 Million, despite the actual overall costs trending flat again this year.
- If Actual Costs remains flat again this year, the over-budgeting will have increased to $3.2 Million.
The position of the District Business Office is that growing the budget is necessary, independent of Actual Costs. My question, which has gone unanswered, is how large does the over-budgeting have to become until the District stops asking to have the Budget increase, and asking taxpayers to pay more for less?
From my point of view, the over-budgeting equates to over-taxing. How can the District legitimating discuss cutting or adding programs, when the Budget numbers are increasingly becoming more and more fictitious and out of line with Actual Costs?
Making Up Snow Days
During the Regular Board Meeting, there was a lengthy discussion about how to address all the time missed by this year’s snow and ice. Dr Newcome informed the Board that the Pennsylvania Department of Education has been asked by the Legislature to interpret how to make up time regulations broadly this year, giving School Districts the most flexibility.
The Board will be given options in March, which may include adding days to the end of the year or adding time to the school day. The Public is encouraged to both attend meetings, and contact Board Members in their Region to voice their opinions.