The School Board held a budget worksession during its meeting on March 7, 2017. During the worksession, Executive Director of Finance Patty Camery reported the budget adopted by the General Assembly will provide the school division with approximately $100,000 more than the budget proposed by the Governor.
Executive Director of Human Resources John Linaburg reported the state opened an inquiry last year to develop a plan to offer school divisions and local government the option of participating in two of the state’s healthcare plans beginning in July 2018. Mr. Linaburg noted that the school division was one of 210 groups who submitted data that was used to develop preliminary rates for the offered plans in FY19. He noted the plans that would be offered are basic in nature and would require “buy-ups” in order to compare with the plans already offered by FCPS. Mr. Linaburg stated the rates quoted for the basic options are best case scenarios and are already higher than the school division’s current rates without considering the cost of the buy-ups. He added that participating in the plans would increase the amount FCPS employees pay for healthcare. Since the current rates for the state plans are more expensive than the current FCPS rates and are likely to increase during the three-year initial commitment period, Mr. Linaburg stated the school division would not be participating in the next round of the project.
Mrs. Camery reported that the health insurance information for FY18 has been received and that the premiums will increase less than the 10 percent that was projected in the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget. Dr. Sovine recommended that the school division absorb the additional cost so that employees can receive the same plans that are currently offered at no additional cost in FY18. Dr. Sovine added that staff is looking at other healthcare programs that could save staff as well as the division money in the future.
Mrs. Camery reviewed the new budget scenario discussed at the Frederick County Board of Supervisors’ budget worksession held on March 1, 2017. She noted the scenario would provide the school division with an additional $1,836,457 in county funding for the School Operating Fund, $2,651,163 from the county’s fund balance for capital projects, and a transfer of $617,458 from the debt service fund. Overall, the scenario would provide a total of $5,105,078 (operating and capital combined) for the school division. Mrs. Camery also stated that even if the Board of Supervisors elects to continue using its fund balance for operations as well as capital projects in FY18, the county’s fund balance is still projected to grow. Dr. Sovine noted that the budget scenario reviewed at the Board of Supervisors meeting on March 1 would require $3.8 million being cut from his Proposed FY18 Budget.
Board members discussed the budget decisions yet to be made by the Board of Supervisors as well as the need for the Board of Supervisors to take some action on the requests for appropriations to proceed with construction of the fourth high school, the Armel Elementary addition/renovation and the construction of the 12th elementary school.
By consensus, the Board asked Dr. Lamanna to send a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors voicing the Board’s support for the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget and noting the implications of not fully funding his request.