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Thursday, January 30, 2014

School Budget Summit to Avoid Another Shortfall

By James Lomuscio

During more than three hours of grueling numbers crunching tonight, the Westport Board of Education in a joint special meeting with the Board of Finance and other committees tried to fathom how the school system wound up $1.9 million in the hole this year and how to avoid future health insurance shortfalls.

The shortfall consists of a projected cash equivalent of $595,009, plus $1,307,400 of incurred but not reported (IBNR) claims.

Members of the Representative Town Meeting’s (RTM)  Education and Finance committees, the school board’s Health Insurance Fund Review Committee, and Robert Pernicka, senior vice president of Segal Co., the school system’s actuarial consulting firm, all dug deeply into the school board’s intentional draw downs of health insurance reserves and a sharp increase in unreported claims since 2012.

Elio Longo, the school system’s business manager, noted earlier this week that for 2012, six claims exceeded $100,000, one of them more than the stop loss of $225,000. For 2013, the number of six-figure claims jumped to 16, he said, with six exceeding $225,000.

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