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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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Recap on property tax issues and S1701 - GSCS has been requesting legislative help on school budget cost drivers for a number of years - here is one example from summer 2004
In addition here are some other examples to note, GSCS: 1) was formally noted as spurring the Governor to sign the executive order that instituted the Education Mandate Review Commission - to date legislature has yet to follow up substantively on the Commission's recommendations submitted in January 2004;

2)has consistently pursued a review of special education program and related mandates for a number of years; legislation has been in the hopper to establish a Special Education Review Commission but again, to date, the legislature has failed to pass that bill into law;

3) called for allowing a dual spouse 'buy back incentive' in the State Health Benefits Plan such as permitted by private carriers - the state has not yet posted the concept for a hearing.

It’s Up to Trenton too to Address  Real Cost Drivers in School Budgets:

 

Garden State Coalition of Schools Requests “Tools for Schools”

 

For example, here are some initial suggestions…..

Health Benefits:

e.g., Dual Spouse Coverage: allow incentive ‘buy back’ for one coverage [re dual spouse] in State Health Benefits Plan [SHBP] .

 

Pilot for 3 years, then review to determine cost-benefit regarding impact on actuarial pool, thus potential for increasing cost basis of premiums. If benefit to school communities outweighs ‘adverse selection’ impact, then the incentive program should continue.

 

Haddonfield example (has been able to do this since it has contracted w/private carrier for 12 years [Aetna/US Health Care]; Fleet is Haddonfield’s insurance broker):

 

1.        The average coverage costs, excluding dental, range:

7K Single to 12K Family

2.    Incentive buy back range:          

1K  to 2.5K @ approx. 15% participation rate

3.    Net savings to Haddonfield taxpayer = $244K [35 incentives v. 8K average

       savings] more than 10% of total medical benefits cost of $2+M in

       Haddonfield School District.

 

Thumbnail of potential for savings statewide == $122M based on Haddonfield savings X 500.  

(Haddonfield is a smaller K12 District in Southern Region of New Jersey. Thus Haddonfield savings as a base helps take into account that there are a number of other districts that may already have this type of buy-back program outside of SHB Plan. Conversely there are a number of larger districts within the SHBP that could save far more if they had access to this option. )    Pilot for 3 years.

 

Salaries: 

Course correct the balance in negotiations -. Currently each local district is limited in their negotiations to local negotiators: the Board, a local board hired labor attorney, local administrators. Local teachers union has access to NJEA field representatives from the county level, as well as central NJEA state expertise,  that can tilt balance of power during negotiations.     

                                                                                                                                Pilot for 3 years.

 

Special Education:

Include negotiated settlements within the Extraordinary Aid to Special Education parameters. 

While the Doe has statistics that show that more than half of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions in the state are decided in favor of local districts, common knowledge among schools and attorneys, that the ALJ’s  exert great pressure on districts to settle [approximately 80% or so are deemed to be settled out of court].

 

Hold private provider tuition increases to same standard applied to public schools.

 

Since 2001-2002 Special Education State Aid has been held flat for mandated programs (when aid is held flat for mandated programs, property taxes now have to make up the difference): Update the aid and fund according to current enrollment levels.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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