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Friday, January 10, 2014

Health Insurance Shortfall Propels School Budget Increase

By James Lomuscio

Westport Board of Education members hunkered down today in the Westport Library McManus Room to pore over School Superintendent Elliott Landon’s $110.96 million proposed operating budget for 2014-16.

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School Board Chair Elaine Whitney and Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon go over the budget today at the Westport Library. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The proposed budget represents a 6.51 percent increase. 2.2 percent higher than expected due to a $2 million health insurance shortfall discovered in the 2013-14 budget’s health insurance fund.

“For the first time in 15 years of preparing proposed school budgets for the Westport Public Schools, I have been forced to deal with a budget shortfall in the health insurance account that places great stress on the budget, a shortfall that forces an extraordinarily large increase in projected expenses,” Landon stated in a letter at the beginning of his multi-page budget binder outlining next year’s proposed budget.

For next year, in addition to an insurance shortfall of $1.48 million, Landon recommends an insurance margin of $742,600 based on input from the school system’s insurance consultant Segal & Co. “to protect against future, unanticipated expenditures.

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