East Aurora shaves $6 million off health care costs
By David Sharos For Sun-Times Media September 3, 2013 8:47PM
Updated: October 7, 2013 12:24PM
East Aurora School District 131 Board President Annette Johnson updated board members Tuesday night regarding budget changes before the final budget is approved later this month.
Johnson noted that the district has been able to shave off nearly $6 million in health care costs, thanks to updating records of those who belong and don’t belong in the system.
“Many individuals who have left the district have now been removed from our list of those who were receiving benefits, and there have also been a lot of retirees from the district over the past few years,” Johnson said.
“We’ve managed to clean up the list and have realized a significant savings this year from the $22 million that was projected to a cost now of about $16 million.”
Johnson said some of the savings will now be earmarked for other pressing needs in the district, including $1 million that will be allocated for the district’s maintenance program and well as educational needs, which includes funding for a new student computer program.
Johnson also noted an interesting item on the budget involving literacy and math backpacks.
“We had a pilot over the summer, when kindergarten kids came to register they received a $12 kit made up of the alphabet, a Leapfrog numbers CD and tracing materials,” she said. “The parents had been given instructions on how to use it. We are happy to report all our kindergarten teachers are reporting the kids came to school well prepared. This had been a problem in years past.”
The backpack program was budgeted at just over $175,000. The program is part of the district’s effort at launching a parent program to educate students. Johnson noted that many parents aren’t sure how to start some initiatives at home, given the district’s high population of first-time English language learners.