CHESANING, Mich. - Chesaning Union Schools is paying nearly 21 percent more for employee health insurance this year, even though teachers agreed to a plan with higher deductibles, the (Chesaning) Tri-County Citizen reported.

Scott Sawyer, the district's finance director, told school board members that Chesaning is in better financial condition than many school districts, with an anticipated fund balance equaling about 13 percent of the budget in 2010, according to the Citizen. But Sawyer also predicted the district could enter a deficit position by 2012 depending on spending, enrollment and state revenue levels.

The district purchases Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance for teachers through the Michigan Educational Special Services Association, a third-party administrator that has accumulated about $364 million in reserve funds, Sawyer said, according to the Citizen.

"It's all public money. It's taxpayers' money," he said of the MESSA reserve, the Citizen reported.

Retirement costs are up by 9.4 percent as well, Sawyer told the board.

(Chesaning) Tri-County Citizen, "Chesaning schools adjust budget to compensate," Jan. 3, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Tough Questions to Ask Your School District," Dec. 24, 2009