published Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Hamilton County: School system talks deep budget cuts

by Adam Crisp

Hamilton County school board members have been presented a plan that outlines $14.3 million in spending cuts to balance next year’s budget.

Board members are considering increases in employees’ dependents health insurance premiums. That $200 a month increase could save $2 million annually according to school system projections.

That increase would be in addition to deep cuts in capital maintenance, employee health reimbursement accounts, central office staff, contract bus driver health insurance and textbook purchases among others.

Board members haven’t voted and the 14 cuts are, at this point, only recommendations.

But school bard members say the cuts could be reduced if teachers were willing to pay more in health insurance.

“Single-person premiums could be doubled without causing too much heartburn,” said board member Mike Evatt.

The single-person premium must be approved by the teachers union, which previously has not embraced such increases. Dependent premiums are not covered by the teachers contract.

The school system must present its budget to the County Commission by second week of May.

about Adam Crisp...

Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...

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