More Action Needed To Address School District’s Health Costs
"Much more needs to be done" to address the Fresno Unified School District's $1.1 billion in unfunded employee health insurance costs, according to a county grand jury report released Friday, the Fresno Bee reports. The report attributes the district's financial problems in fiscal year 2004-2005 to its unfunded health care liability.
School district and officials of unions representing district employees said they already have adopted many of the grand jury's recommendations, including forming a joint board about a year ago to help manage health care costs.
Kevin Hall, associate director of the Fresno Teachers Association, said the board "has immediately brought health care costs under control." The board also has followed a grand jury recommendation to hire an outside insurance plan consultant to help the district contract with an employee health care provider, rather than self-insuring health care coverage, Hall said.
Ruth Quinto, Fresno Unified's chief financial officer, said the district would not follow a recommendation to freeze salary increases for employees. The district currently is negotiating pay increases for employees.
The grand jury also recommended that Fresno Unified board members undergo mandatory fiscal management and oversight training. Quinto said most board members completed fiscal training in the past year (Vance, Fresno Bee, 6/24).