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Monday, March 25, 2013

$2 million mistake - self-insuring medical benefits for Clarkston Schools

I was advised by an anonymous commenter about the impact of the Clarkston Community Schools switching from an insurance carrier for medical benefits to being self-insured.  Here is the comment received on 2/20/13:
"Rumor has it the Ex Dr of HR for the 2nd year in a row has under estimated the cost of self insuring. If that's true , think she deserves a raise or a pay cut? I'm sure she would tell you it's somehow the employees fault!"
I decided to look into the claim and researched it using the district's previously posted school board board packets.

The Executive Director of Human Resources, Anita Banach, underestimated the cost of health insurance for the CCS district employees to the tune of $2 million for the 2012/13 school year by talking the school board into "self-insuring" their medical insurance.  The district will be carrying forward a $2.4 million deficit into the 2013/14 school year as a result.

Recently she had been lobbying for (and apparently received) a huge pay increase based on Dr. Rod Rock giving her a promotion from Director of Human Resources to Executive Director of Human Resources.  This appears to be rather poor performance for an "Executive Director of Human Resources".      

CCS Open School of Choice Discussion Information

Here is the district's justification for Open School of Choice per the board packet for the 3/25/13 CCS school board meeting:

Please read this over and if you have any concerns, please come to the school board meeting on Monday, 3/25/13 at 7 PM and voice those concerns.  The meetings are held at the Clarkston Community Schools Administration Building, 6389 Clarkston Road, Clarkston, MI.   


Challenge:
To offset the loss of Clarkston Community Schools student enrollment, along with the associated reductions in CCS programming for 2013-14 school year and beyond

Response:
Proposal of limited schools of choice option for
2013-14 school year
• Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades only
• 100 students maximum (no more than 50 students at any one grade level)
• Section 105 (within Oakland County only)

Facts:
• Need to reduce total of $3-$3.5 million for 2013-14 budget
• Goal to achieve through reductions, employee concessions and revenue enhancements
• Each student loss = loss of $7,082
• 2012-13 loss of students = $509,904 (72 fewer students x $7,082)
• Limited enrollment option offers opportunity to bring in current out-of-district Early Childhood Center students
• Viable option for neighboring families who wish to attend CCS
• Those who come in early adapt well and will stay as Clarkston students
• Not at capacity throughout district; can accommodate numbers across all K-2 classrooms
• All 28 districts in Oakland County are participating in or considering some form of open enrollment/schools of choice
• Oakland County is a very competitive environment
• Overall number of school-aged children in county is decreasing (SEMCOG data)
• Plan to annually review enrollment trends, actual numbers and additional data to analyze overall SOC option and viability for future
• Each School of Choice (SOC) student = $7,082 (or amount of resident district allocation if less than Clarkston)
• 100 SOC students = approximately $700,000
• Addition to aggressive Shared Services Partnership Program
• CCS programs suffer with loss of students

SOC Rules:
Propose to accept up to 100 students, Kindergarten - 2nd grade
• No more than 50 students per any grade level
• Can specify availability per grade level and building
• Priority:
   o In-district school of choice & employees' children (already allowed SOC students, not a new group of students)
   o Out-of-district school of choice - sibling already enrolled in current SOC program
   o All other out-of-district school of choice
• Applications accepted minimum of 15 days and maximum of 30 days
Accept all applicants if numbers do not exceed available spots (including students that have been suspended or expelled in the last two years????)
• Random draw and waiting list if applicants exceed available spots
District MAY refuse enrollment based on suspensions (past 2 years) or expulsions (MAY?)
Continuous enrollment through graduation (this means that as soon as the students are enrolled, they are enrolled until they graduate or they leave the district of their own volition, so there is no going back to the way it is now)
• Enrollment must take place by end of first week of school
• Transportation not required - with exception of SOC students who may become homeless
• Foundation Allowance received = lesser of CCS and resident district

Timelines:
March 25: Presentation to Board
March 26 - April 7: Collect feedback/questions/concern (Easter break is March 29th to April 7th SURPRISE!  The district will "collect feedback/questions/concern" while they are not working and the public cannot reach administration???  That leaves three days for feedback - March 26th to March 28th, but no likely way to communicate this to the public and get feedback in that timeframe).
April 8-22: Board "retreat" w/administrator and community input re: SOC and other options  (Since the Board retreats are not filmed or broadcasted on Comcast or the district's UStream account, this conveniently results in the public not knowing what is discussed unless they were able to attend the meeting)
TBD: Board Vote on SOC Proposal
Pending SOC Approval: Communication/marketing plan re: SOC options (print, media, etc.)
TBD: Staffing and placement determinations
August 1: Final staffing placement
TBD: Advertisement of SOC openings, application deadline, final notifications
 
Considerations:
• Student loss trends
• Competitive county environment
• Community reaction
• August (or earlier) deadlines
• Potential staff increases
• Placement hierarchy
• Priority of placement
• Special education needs (historically, students with special needs/behavioral issues have been highly represented in the students who request SOC placement, increasing the costs to support those students in the "new" school district, potentially overwhelming the new school's special education staff, resulting in lowered MEAP scores, and more behavioral issues in the "new" school) 
• Lower class sizes/fewer reductions
• Communication plan; alignment with requirements & timelines

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do YOU want Open Enrollment in Clarkston Schools?

How do you feel about the fact that Open Enrollment is being considered in Clarkston Schools again?

It will be discussed at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7 PM.

Please come to the meeting and express your opinion.