School board explores advantages of bonding for post-retirement benefitsThe Alexandria School Board is exploring its options involving post-retirement benefits that could increase taxes but provide advantages to students and families.
The Alexandria School Board is exploring its options involving post-retirement benefits that could increase taxes but provide advantages to students and families.
At its August 18 meeting, the board talked about a new tool provided through legislative action last session that allows government entities – including school districts – to issue bonds to cover “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB).
Earlier this year an actuarial study completed by an independent consultant estimated that the district has long-term retiree liabilities of approximately $7.9 million.
The new law authorizes school districts to issue bonds up to the liability amount, without an election, to help fund post-employment benefits.
According to Tom Wieczorek, the district’s business director, a bond sale of this amount would cost the average taxpayer – based on a $150,000 home – an additional $25 per year or $2.08 per month.
The bond would be paid back over 20 years.
By exercising the option to bond for post-employment benefits, the district would free up approximately $520,000 of general fund dollars to spend elsewhere.
Preliminary discussion indicated the board would closely examine the future needs of the district to determine how to reallocate that money toward valued-added services for students.
Some ideas generated included free all-day every-day kindergarten programming, classroom technology integration, expansion of pre-engineering coursework and student literacy initiatives.
The board will continue to study the bonding for other post-employment benefits option, and possibly take action on the proposed plan at the next regular school board meeting, September 15.