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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Furloughs over health insurance cuts: Pasco schools budget committee makes its recommendations

Money-cut Last year, Pasco County's school employee budget advisory committee spent lots of time talking about minutiae, like whether the school district spent too much on paper clips.

This year, the committee got into meatier issues. And it's made some clear proposals for the superintendent, School Board and United School Employees of Pasco to consider as budget talks continue, with a goal of cutting at least $28 million in spending.

On one thing the committee was infinitely clear: Members vastly prefer taking days without pay to losing fully covered health insurance benefits. The School Board has been considering whether to charge employees $30 a month to cover part of the premiums. It flirted with the idea of giving workers one furlough day next week to offset the charge, but the USEP rejected that notion.

Other ideas the committee unanimously supported include:

  • Encourage the Board to approve the .25 critical operating millage by supermajority vote
  • Examine and possibly renegotiate the supplement amount (.2) that is paid to secondary teachers voluntarily teaching a sixth period for possible reduction
  • Implement (through negotiation) however many furlough days are needed to preserve a fully paid benefits package
  • Continue to investigate early retirement incentive options and share information with employees immediately (the District is still waiting for the finalization of numbers from the actuary)
  • Further maximize bus routes for possible savings
  • Given the 50% increase in dental insurance premiums, eliminate fully paid dental coverage and make it available for purchase

Any other good ideas out there?

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:07am]


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