No increase in health insurance premiums for St. Martin School System

By Henri C. Bienvenu

BREAUX BRIDGE – Premiums for group health insurance will not increase during the 2009-10 fiscal year for employees of the St. Martin School Board.

Members of the board’s finance committee made the recommendation during a meeting last week after reviewing claims figures for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

CFO Emile Soulier told board members that current estimates show the insurance fund closing the fiscal year with approximately $79,500 excess revenues over expenditures.

The board had approved lower rates for its employees last year that went into effect in January 2009, using funds accumulated over the past several years to cover the decrease.

Board employees currently contribute $134 per month for employee only coverage, $267 for employee plus one coverage, and $391 per month for employee and family coverage.

The school system puts up $357 per month per employee towards the premium costs.

Bond Rates

Last week finance committee members also took steps it hopes will attract better bids when it offers $30 million in school improvement bonds for sale later this year.

The board’s general fund balance was $16.8 million at the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year and by adopting a “fund balance policy” bond attorneys say the parish should be able to secure a better bond rating that could significantly lower its debt service costs.

Soulier explained that the board’s auditing firm has consistently advised the board to maintain a fund balance in an amount that would cover between three and four months expenditure as a “rainy day fund” to be used in the case of catastrophes such as hurricanes or other natural disasters that would interrupt normal revenue streams and inflict major losses on the system’s infrastructure.

Since the 2001-02 fiscal year the board has been able to increase its general fund balance from $13.7 million to the current level of $16.8 million.

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