Jefferson-Morgan gets good news on retirement obligations

November 20, 2012

JEFFERSON – Jefferson-Morgan School District is beginning to see the benefits of the teachers contract ratified in August in terms of its obligation to fund employees’ post-retirement medical benefits.

A study completed three years ago had determined the district’s liabilities in funding health insurance benefits promised by contract to district retirees at more than $10 million.

Changes made in the contract negotiated with the teachers this summer, however, have greatly reduced the district’s liabilities, business manager Jennifer Foringer told the board Monday.

A recent study indicated the district’s long-term post-retirement liabilities have decreased by more than $3 million, she said. Language in the new contract limited the district’s obligations in regard to retirement benefits.

Government accounting standards implemented several years ago had asked all school districts to set aside money to pay for health insurance benefits promised to retirees.

Most districts, including Jefferson-Morgan, had never set aside money to fund these long-term obligations but had simply paid the costs of the benefits on a year to year basis.

In other business, the board approved the district’s comprehensive plan which includes goals and action plans addressing curriculum, assessments, instruction, technology and other educational objectives.

The plan will be updated taking into account the fact the elementary and middle-senior high did not make adequate yearly progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment this year Superintendent Donna Furnier said.

Board President Mark Pochron noted district scores had improved on the tests, however, the schools did not make AYP because a higher percentage of students were required to score proficient on the test this year.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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