Durango School District 9-R will likely be examining about $127,000 in midyear budget cuts in the next several months to cover a shortfall in its health insurance fund.
In addition, employees’ premium contributions to the health fund will increase by a total of about $116,000 for the school year, beginning with monthly premium increases in December paychecks.
Employees with single coverage in December will see a bump in their average monthly premiums of about $50 in pre-tax dollars or about $35 in after-tax dollars. Employees with coverage for spouses and family members will see bigger increases. Employees’ premium increases will vary depending on which health insurance plan they have.
9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger said the increased funding for the health fund will cover the shortfall for the current school year, but the district will have to augment its funding for future years.
“This is not the only change we will have to make,” he said at Tuesday’s 9-R school board meeting.
The 9-R school board approved health insurance premium increases for employees and increased contributions from the district on Tuesday.
The district uses a partially self-insured model that before 2017 had largely saved the district and employees’ money as traditional insurance rates rose rapidly. However, during the last two years, the district has seen higher-than-anticipated claims.
Snowberger said discussions with health brokers, who will negotiate new health-insurance contracts for the district for future years, indicate 9-R’s health fund is about 30 percent underfunded to sustain anticipated claims.