Pasco official proposes insurance tweak to cut spending
The Pasco County school district's chief contract negotiator has recommended cutting insurance benefits for people who resign at the end of each school year as a way to save about $150,000 each year.
In an e-mail to superintendent Kurt Browning, employee relations director Kevin Shibley notes that each month of insurance benefits costs $498 per employee. He also writes that about 300 employees resign betweeen the end of one school year and the start of the next. If the district ends their insurance benefits at the end of August, rather than the end of September as has been the practice, the savings come.
"Obviously, this doesn't get us to the $3 million figure that we are looking for, but it would be a recurring change that would work in our favor," Shibley wrote.
Browning has yet to respond to the idea, which would still need to be vetted by the board and negotiated with the United School Employees of Pasco. The sides have not reached a contract deal for this year or begun talks for 2013-14.
This is but the latest cost-savings idea to emerge as the district has sought to streamline expenses amid falling revenue. The board has implemented furloughs, pay freezes, job reductions and other measures as it also has relied on one-time revenue sources to cover a chunk of the district's general operating budget. The cuts have been put forth with the explanation that the district cannot rely on those resources again.
The discussion is likely to be more intense this budget season as pressure mounts to improve security in schools, while employees point out that many other districts have offered pay raises this year while Pasco has not. What would you recommend to cut so that the board can meet its several priorities and demands?