SHIELDS, Mich. - Swan Valley schools is facing a $33,000 budget hole, thanks in part to a 17.5 percent increase in union insurance costs, according to The Saginaw News.

Swan Valley will pay MESSA about $190,000 more next year, The News reported.

The Michigan Education Special Services Association is a third- party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association school employees union. MESSA outsources insurance underwriting to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and then resells the insurance to school districts.

"We were doing pretty good until we got hit with those skyrocketing health care costs, which threw our budget off $250,000," interim Superintendent Richard P. Dyer told the school board, according to The News.

The Saginaw News, "Swan Valley schools face deficit of $33K+," June 21, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Boards Empowered to Save Insurance Dollars," Dec. 3, 2007