Rising health care costs and falling state funding are putting a major dent in the Bartholomew Consolidated Schools budget plans for next year. Chad Phillips, the district’s assistant superintendent for financial services, told the school board this week that rising health care costs are already up 14 percent through July, compared to the entirety of last year. Next year’s budget will see increasing health insurance premiums, lower benefits and decreases in other funds to cover the rising health care costs, Phillips said. The reserve fund for health care has continued to fall, with reserves of only about $338,657. That is compared to an ending balance of $2.8 million last year and $9.5 million five years ago. Phillips said that for the first time ever, the district did not have enough money in its health care reserve fund last week to make a full payment on claims. The district worked with its third party administrator  to reschedule payments to bridge the gap.   Phillips estimated that the district would see about $2 million dollars more than anticipated in health care costs this year. For next year, that meant cuts in several areas. The 2020 proposed budget would be just over $117 million dollars, compared to this year’s nearly $115 million dollar budget, an increase of 1.8 percent. Phillips said. The first vote on next year’s budget is set for Sept. 23rd.

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