Bartow schools sees ‘good news’ on FY budget
by Mark Andrews
Sep 10, 2013 | 1092 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bartow County School System is seeing some positive news rounding out the fiscal year 2013 budget, says chief financial advisor Todd Hooper.

“The majority of work for rounding out the year has been completed and as we review that there could be some changes, ... but our actual revenue for FY13 was [$102.2 million] at this point,” Hooper said during Monday’s regular work session. “We budgeted [$100.4 million], so we exceeded revenue projections.

“Our expenditures, the actual amount was [$105.2 million], we had budgeted [$107.2 million]. That’s good news on a couple of different fronts: first of all, our revenues exceeded our projections, and on the expenditures side, our expenditures were less than our projections.”

He continued, “We had initially projected to have a $6.7 million deficit and the result was actually a little over $3 million for the deficit. It’s still a deficit and we would anticipate there would be minor changes to this ...”

In other school finance news, Hooper said the system is working to educate employees on emerging healthcare changes under the Affordable Care Act before the start of open insurance enrollment next school year.

“We typically do a benefits enrollment meeting at each of the three high schools. This year we will actually be having the meetings at Adairsville High School, Woodland High School, Bartow [County] College and Career Academy and Euharlee Elementary [School] to try and get out to all four areas of the schools,” Hooper said. “The changes this year will be significant in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act. ... We still don’t have all of the plan design information — that is still forthcoming, but again we want to go out to the schools in order to encourage participation with these main four meetings ...”

Board member Matt Shultz asked Hooper if the finance committee would look at the option of offering to employees information about private insurance plans.

“... In some cases it may actually be cheaper for our employees to look outside of the state plans,” Shultz said.

Hooper said there still is uncertainty at this point what insurance options will remain available for state employees under the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t know enough at this point to be able to tell you, but one of the things that will happen is if an employee feels like a plan is not affordable for them with us, depending on the criteria for their income for their family, they will probably want to participate in one of the exchange programs, which would be competing against [private insurance plans],” Hooper said. “For the most part, the way that the state health benefit plan has put together options, employees will have what they call an ‘Affordable Care option’ to them so that, for the most part, they’re not going to be eligible for the exchanges typically.

“I think it’s about 9 1/2 percent of their individual income is what the premium would be less than, so there would be some competition within an individualized product for those exchanges. But it’s not to say they can’t offer those options to employees.”

The board will meet for its regular business session Monday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom.