ACA will cost the district money

Another agenda topic for discussion for the Augusta USD 402 Board of Education Monday night was the Affordable Health Care Act and how it will affect the school district.

Superintendent Dr. John Black explained initially it was calculated the potential cost of complying with the ACA could be an additional $302,500 for the district classified staff and an additional $120,000 for the USD 402 portion of Butler County Special Education Cooperative paraprofessionals’ benefits.

“We are working with Sanders and Webb and the Fiscal Planning Committee to determine options with regards to coverage and Mike Sanders shared that certain positions would possibly be different when calculating eligibility...bottom line is that it will cost the district more money to be compliant. It is difficult to determine how much money. We’re still trying to obtain information,” Black continued. “The decrease in revenue still exists and no new money is coming in.”

Black explained the board will need to determine whether they will provide insurance to all qualified under ACA, identify a work plan best for the employees and the district, and determine when to reduce hours worked during the week.

“Do we reduce some positions below 30 hours? For instance, substitute teachers? If they work part time in Augusta and part time in Andover, who pays the insurance? And what about bus drivers? This will be some of the dilemmas coming up with a recommendation and number. We will need to understand the penalties...there is no new money. We will have to generate some money. Reality may be cutting positions and programs,” Black added. “People should have insurance, but we don’t know all the rules and what our cost will be. This is quite a challenge.”

Black advised he will be attending meetings and gathering information and will get back with the board concerning the ACA.

Board member Andy Hall posed the question, “Have we thought about outsourcing some positions? For instance, using Service Master for custodial work? Many companies and maybe other districts do it.”

BOE Member Matthew Blank added, “Maybe we can look at handling bus routes like Wichita. We should look into it.”

“I could present these ideas to the Fiscal Committee and the Budget Committee,” Black advised.

“I truly believe we should explore school districts working together, like sharing (computer) technicians,” BOE member Bob McCalla stated. “We’re going to have trouble paying our teachers, much less paying technicians. We need to work together. I see the day coming when we will have to.”

BOE elections update

Black told board members after they passed the resolution to change the district from a three-member district method of election to the at-large method of election, under which the district is not divided into any member districts and all board members are elected at large, and presenting the resolution to voters for approval, it was sent to the Butler County Election Office.

“We are still waiting to hear back on what we can anticipate – whether it will be on the 2014 August primary ballot or the November general election ballot. The Election Office did say it could possibly be on the primary ballot in August, but they haven’t confirmed that,” Black said. “But when was the last time they had to deal with this problem?”

Belinda Larsen can be reached at