The Rappahannock County School Board’s recent wholesale rejection of the Joint Benefits Study Group (JBSG) was indeed a missed opportunity to at least begin the process of dealing responsibly with one of our county’s most pressing fiscal issues. Our county now spends approximately $1.8 million per year for very expensive health insurance coverage for the employees of our two county schools.
The JBSG was formed by our board of supervisors following the lengthy 2012-2013 budget debate concluded earlier this year. JBSG was broadly comprised of citizens, our school superintendent, a member of the school board, a supervisor, our county administrator and a school employee. The group was charged to study solutions and make recommendations, and expectations were high that such a diverse group might offer solutions more in keeping with neighboring jurisdictions and, perhaps, even the private sector.
The modest recommendations submitted by the JBSG may not have gone far enough in reducing the health-insurance premium burden to our county taxpayers, but at least their findings served as a framework for additional dialog and real solutions.
It is most unfortunate that our school board has chosen to deny this opportunity.
Jeffrey E. Knight, CPA