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State benefit changes lead to budget revision
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The Effingham County Board of Education approved a revised budget for fiscal year 2011 accommodating mandated changes in the State Health Benefits Plan enacted through the Georgia Department of Community Health.
“We did not budget this change,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said to school board members at their Sept. 16 meeting. “This was not anything that anyone knew, so it is somewhat of a shock for our system.”
On Sept. 3, the BoE central office received a memo from the Georgia DCH informing a continuation of the employer percent of payroll for state health benefits at 21.955 percent of a teacher’s state base — a 3.420 percent increase from the FY 2011 appropriations bill — in order to assure the financial stability of the plan. The employer portion rate increase applies to all state departments, and this raises personnel expenditures by more than $700,000. 
But the memo stated that the increase will be in effect until March 2011 and will be cut back in the fourth quarter “so that school systems budgets are held harmless,” indicating that these funds will be restored with a reduction in employer health benefit contributions.
For the complete story see Tuesday's edition of the Herald.