Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gloucester, VA School Board, Benefits Corruption, (Part 10 of 10)

Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D.

About the Yankee Institute for Public Policy

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Inc. is a nonpartisan educational and research organization
founded more than two decades ago. Today, the Yankee Institute’s mission is to “promote
economic opportunity through lower taxes and new ideas for better government in Connecticut.”

Question 10: Benefits 
Do part-time employees pay a proportional share of their insurance benefits? If 
not, why not? Are retirees who are being paid their medical insurance by the 
school district entitled to the payments? Are there retirees listed who are 
deceased but still having their benefits paid? Is the list reviewed yearly to keep 
it updated? 
Background: School districts have a list of retirees whose benefits are 
paid either by the school district or the employee. Such lists have been shown 
to include retirees who are not entitled to the benefits, as well as retirees whose 
benefit are being paid even though they are deceased. 
Proposed Solution: An issue is whether a part-time employee should 
receive the same paid benefits as a full time employee. A part-time employee 
should be required to pay for a proportional share of their benefits. For 
example, a half-time employee should pay 50 percent of the benefit cost. 
 The retiree list must be reviewed each year to determine whether the 
payments are legitimate and whether the retiree is still living. 

School boards and administrators usually claim that 75 to 80 percent of 
their budget represents “fixed costs.” Taxpayers should never accept such a 
statement, because this is the biggest deceit of all. Such a statement assumes 
that every school employee is essential, that no consolidations can take place, 
all programs and services are efficient and effective, all resources are managed 
with quality guidelines, and every operation is managed with utmost efficiency. 
Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to any organization 
supported by taxpayer dollars -- and this is especially true of schools. 
 Therefore, these ten critical questions need be to given honest and 
meaningful answers, and then followed by appropriate action. 
School boards cannot do the job alone. If they were doing their jobs, 
School Corruption: Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust could not have been  written, and the evidence of rather shameful statistics of student results such as dropout rates, poor testing results, achievement gaps between white and 
minority students, and over 25,000 schools identified as failing would not exist. 
No amount of money will solve these and other school problems. It 
requires effective monitoring of school assets, human and financial resources, 
and programs and services. Unfortunately, such monitoring can only be 
effective if there is enough outside taxpayer knowledge and pressure to demand 
answers and action. 
 What taxpayers need to understand is that local boards have the power 
and obligation to adopt policies and practices to manage the school resources 
so that they are used wisely, honestly, and effectively, as well as protected from 
corrupt acts. No other approvals are needed for action on their part, but it 
does require education, training and courage. 

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