The problem, said Superintendent Paul Padalino, we are nearly twice as far away from balancing the 2017-18 budget than first thought, as there is roughly a $1.1 million chasm between a rollover plan and the state-mandated tax cap.
Said Assistant Superintendent Allen Olsen, the bad news is our teachers’ health plan insurance premiums are going to increase by several percentage points more than our wildest imagination allowed us to think. Employee health insurance costs will increase by 13.3 percent or $460,000. Which means the Kingston City School District will spend $35.5 million on health insurance in 2017-18, 21 percent of the district’s budget. More than one out of every 5 dollars is spent on health insurance.
So the two financial geniuses, Padalino and Olsen, have the standard solution to all short falls — “We need more state aid.”
The solution: How about a thinking-out-of-the-box solution? Isn’t it time for the Kingston City School District employees to start making contributions to their very expensive taxpayer-funded health plan? Most employees in the real world contribute 20 percent to their health plans. Twenty percent of $35.5 million is $7.1 million. Voila — we have a solution at no additional cost to the local taxpayers and no need for additional state aid.