HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (11/19/13) — As employers across America prepare for changes that will be required as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Hopkins County School System is no different.
Shari Winstead, assistant superintendent for technology and personnel, told the board a tracking system will be implemented to study hours worked by part time certified and classified employees to become compliant with new healthcare insurance regulations. The results could lead to recommended changes or additions to policies, she told board during its Monday, Nov. 18 meeting.
A 12-month tracking period that began Oct. 3 will help the school system lay the ground work for ensuring that all employees working 30 hours or more have been offered healthcare insurance, she said. If anyone slips through the cracks, a penalty could be imposed by the federal government.
“The (Kentucky Department of Education) recommends this period,” said Winstead. “It also suggests that we may have to set policies or revise them to save resources.”
Winstead said the more difficult part of the task will be tracking hours accrued by substitutes for teachers, cooks and bus drivers as well as the keeping up with totals for various hours worked by coaches. Qualifying exactly what working hours are for coaches should also be addressed, she said.
A report from an annual audit was presented by Lori Oakley of Alford, Nance and Jones, LLP, in which she cautioned the board to be forward thinking about generating revenue in coming years.
“I commend you for what you have been doing,” said Oakley, “because your funding is going to continue to drop.”
Oakley went over specifics for departments within the school system noting losses in some that were attributed to a shortfall in federal and state funding.
Superintendent Linda Zellich said that the school system has been proactive in anticipating drops in state and federal funding and has helped offset them by cutting expenses.
“It used to be that we looked at items in the thousands of dollars,” said Zellich. “But now we've got to think of things in the hundreds of dollars. It just like when you have to tighten your budget at home. We've worked very efficiently but we continue to lose federal and state dollars. Eventually, the students will suffer if those cuts continue.”
School board member Mike Mogan said while requirements of school achievements are mandated, the funding for them has been cut.
“It's like running out of wells to get more water,” said Morgan.
Oakley said the financial state of the school remains in excellent condition with a $22.4 million net position. The general fund is at $6.6 million, which includes a $2.2 million contingency amount, which is also financially sound.
In other business, the board reviewed the school calendar. There will be no school Wednesday, Nov. 27 through Friday, Nov. 29; and, no school from Dec. 20 through Jan. 1.
The board approved paying $3,696.22 for warranty and tech support to Dell from the Kentucky Technology Trust Fund. It also approved paying English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP $5,322 for legal services from the general fund. The fee was for legal services for the Hopkins County Schools and Technology Center.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16 at the central office.
Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
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