OAKRIDGE, Mich. - Teacher retirements and a switch away from union-affiliated health insurance are expected to reduce spending by $430,000 in Oakridge Public Schools, The Muskegon Chronicle reported, but still may leave the district's fund equity at nearly zero by the end of  2010-2011.

Those numbers assume a $433 per-student cut in state funding in the coming year, which The Chronicle called a conservative estimate as compared to other districts. The board is expected to take action on the district's 2010-2011 budget this week. It does not plan to privatize support services but is seeking quotes from private companies for "market comparison" during coming contract negotiations, Superintendent Tom Livezey told The Chronicle.

Seventeen nonunion and administrative employees will switch health insurance from the Choices II plan sold by the Michigan Education Special Services Association to a health savings account plan, The Chronicle reported, saving the district an expected $94,000. MESSA is a third-party insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association.

The district anticipates saving $336,000 through the retirement of 13 teachers, according to The Chronicle. A variety of other spending reductions, including eliminating freshman sports but allowing those students to play on junior varsity teams, will bring total spending down by about $600,000, The Chronicle said.

SOURCE:
The Muskegon Chronicle, "Oakridge Public Schools face cuts, but no privatization," June 14, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan School Health Insurance Database Unveiled," January 2010.

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