Mesquite ISD Cancels Self-Funded Health Plan, Goes TRS, Keeps Clinic


Mesquite school district employees to get 1.5 percent raise

10:57 PM CDT on Monday, July 26, 2010

By KAREL HOLLOWAY / The Dallas Morning News

The financial news for the Mesquite school district wasn’t as bad as expected.

Employees will get at least a 1.5 percent raise, and the district won’t have to dip into the district’s reserve funds.

The tax rate will remain at $1.42 per $100 valuation.

“Property values have gone down so the average homeowner will see a $24 decrease in taxes,” said Richard Koonce, assistant superintendent for finance.

District officials had expected they would have to use reserve funds to balance the budget.

“This to me is outstanding,” board member Robert Seward said. It is particularly impressive, he said, because of the budget problems so many school districts are having.

The board approved the salary schedule and gave preliminary approval to the budget and the proposed tax rate at Monday’s regular meeting. Final approval will came later in the summer after public hearings.

Expenditures this school year are expected to be about $268.23 million up from $266.27 million last school year.

The salary for starting teachers will increase from $45,900 to $46,300.

Teachers are pleased to be getting a raise, said Carl Garner, Mesquite Education Association president.

“It’s better than some districts. Some school districts are staying the same. They are having a freeze,” he said.

The district will switch to the state insurance plan because of increasing costs for the current self-insured plan, said Lanny Frasier, assistant superintendent for personnel services.

Premiums will go up, but less than they would if the district continued its current plan, Frasier said.

The premium for an employee will rise from $75 to $99 a month. Family coverage will increase from $544 a month to $694 a month.

But benefits will improve. The deductibles will be lower, and the maximum out-of-pocket expense will go down, Frasier said.

The district will keep the employee clinic and pharmacy, Frasier said.

“Teachers love that clinic,” Garner said.