By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor

Morgan County School System administration is working on a plan to minimize the amount of financial stress caused by the state requirement that local systems pick up half of the cost of non-certified employees’ healthcare coverage.

Through fiscal year (FY) 2011, the state contributed, at least in part, to the healthcare coverage of non-certified employees. As of FY2012, the cost of coverage is split 50-50 between the local system and the employee. System Internal Auditor Libby Whitaker shared with the Board of Education (BOE) at their Monday meeting that the state’s indicated the amount that local school boards have to kick in for non-certified employees’ healthcare coverage is going to increase annually, continuing through FY2015.

The state, meanwhile, pays for healthcare funding on behalf of certified employees.

There are about 160 non-certified employees in the school system – this includes school secretaries, paraprofessionals, bus drivers and the school nutrition department, among others – and each that opts for state health coverage will cost the district $7,152 for FY2014 and a projected $8,988 for FY2015.

Some of the system’s non-certified employees don’t take advantage of the system’s healthcare coverage; they may have coverage through a spouse, be over 65 and receive Medicare, or be under 26 and still covered through parents. Whitaker proposed a “Shared Savings” program, where non-certified employees opting for coverage outside the system – thereby saving the system $596 a month, or the $7,152 annually – will “share” the savings with the system, receiving saved funds back in their paychecks.

“It’s the non-certified ones who are costing us money; they’re the ones we’re going to offer the Shared Savings plan to,” Whitaker told the BOE.

The plan will be shared with non-certified personnel during open enrollment in October.