Board missed an op­por­tu­nity

Rappahannock News - - EDITORIAL & OPINION -

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

Wash­ing­ton

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