Despite projections of increased healthcare costs for bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other non-certified state employees, the Coweta County School System is prepared.
“The budget variables we have been looking at for years include rising healthcare costs,” said CCSS Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if this projected increase is approved, it could cost a total of $61 million for school districts in Georgia.
For CCSS the increase will be slightly more than $1 million, according to CCSS assistant superintendent Keith Chapman.
And even with it, CCSS is committed to its employees.
“Just as we stated last year, our employees are critical of what we do for our students,” said Barker. “I don’t intend to stop supporting them.”
In 2015, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget made the health care costs of school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other non-certified employees the responsibility of the local school districts.
Those costs totaled $103 million for the local school districts across the state of Georgia, according to Tim Callahan in 2015, spokesperson for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
“For us, this would project to approximately a $1.5 million employer cost increase for FY2016 … We are committing that amount in our current local budget assumptions as we prepare the FY2016 budget,” said Barker last year.
If passed the projected increase would start in Jan. 2017 and would be approximately $100 per person per month, added Chapman.
Earlier in January in his 2016 State of the State address, Deal said the state was budgeting an additional $300 million for K-12 education, which will more than cover the planned three percent raise for teachers if it is approved. Non-certified employees would also receive a three percent raise along with the increase in health care costs.
The intent behind that money in the budget is to reduce the number of furlough days and allow for raises at the local district level, said Barker.
According to Chapman, 40 school districts in Georgia still have furlough days.
CCSS is not one of them, as this school year is its second one with a full instructional year.