Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

November 15, 2016
School board hearing on board compensation is postponed

New plan allows cash payment in lieu of health insurance 

Tonight’s public hearing by the Tooele County School Board on proposed changes to the school district’s compensation plan for board members has been postponed.

The public hearing was scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the school district office. However, the district did not provide proper public notice as required by state law.

While the board may discuss the policy changes during tonight’s meeting, the public hearing and vote on the policy changes will be rescheduled for a future date after proper public notice has been given, according to Marie Denson, the school district’s communications director.

Currently, board members receive the same health benefits as Tooele County School District’s classified employees. The proposed change will give board members the option to take an annual cash payment in lieu of health insurance.

Presently, no school district employees have the option to take a cash payment instead of health insurance, because the district’s contracted health insurance provider doesn’t allow it, according to school district business administrator Lark Reynolds.

However, Reynolds said the provider is willing to make an exception for board members.

In the 2015-16 budget year, the school district paid a combined total of $76,761 for health insurance for board members. That’s an average cost of $10,966 per board member.

Under the proposed revision, school board members could elect to receive a payment equal to the lowest amount the school district contributes to an employee health insurance plan, combined with the amount the district contributes to employee health savings accounts.

That would be $6,504 per board member, according to 2016 costs.

Paying $6,504 to board members who opt out of health insurance means a savings to the school district of $11,399 per board member. That’s a 64-percent savings for each board member that opts out.

If all seven board members opt out of health insurance, the school district would save $79,793.

In addition to saving the district money, there is also a concern that the employees’ monthly share of health insurance may soon exceed a school board member’s salary.

In addition to benefits, local school board members also receive $4,080 annually, or $340 monthly, in compensation for regular board meetings, other meetings and expenses related to their duties as board members.

Under the proposed new policy, board members who opt out of health insurance would receive a total of $10,584 in compensation and benefits, based on 2016 health insurance costs.

A look at other elected official compensation and benefit packages in Tooele County shows that Grantsville City Council members receive roughly $7,700 annually in compensation and benefits while Tooele City Council members receive around $23,000 for their duties as both city council members and redevelopment agency board members in compensation and benefits, according to the website utahsright.com.

The 11 school districts that responded to a survey on board compensation conducted by the Ogden School District revealed that all responding district’s provide health insurance benefits to their board members.

Provo, Box Elder, and Ogden School districts, all close to Tooele County School District in student enrollment, allow board members to receive the same health insurance coverage as district employees.

The other eight respondents also give board members the same health insurance to board members as their employees. Those school districts are Davis, Granite, Jordan, Logan, Murray, Provo, Salt Lake, Uintah and Washington.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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