Legislation introduced by state Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Lewisboro) was signed into law last week, allowing the Carmel Central School District to establish an insurance reserve fund and maintain self-insurance for staff, administration and retiree health care.
The legislation amends the state’s General Municipal Law, and it became enacted immediately after Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave it his approval.
“This legislation will give the Carmel district flexibility in funding basic services and responding to unforeseen expenditures,” Harckham said. “I applaud efforts like this that help local taxpayers, and am pleased to have been able to partner with the district in this regard.”
The health insurance reserve would aid the district in planning its annual budget and weather increases or decreases in health insurance expenditures, Harckham added.
“As someone who graduated from the Carmel School District nearly 20 years ago, it’s a pleasure to support common-sense legislation that helps give the school district more flexibility to provide for its faculty, students, and protect taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R-Mahopac). “I thank my colleagues Assemblymember Sandy Galef for introducing the legislation in the Assembly and Sen. Harckham in the Senate, and was happy to show my support as cosponsor.”
All municipal corporations around the state and a number of school districts, including the Scarsdale Union Free School District, the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and the Minisink Valley Central School District, have already established an insurance reserve fund under current law.
Now enacted, the new legislation gives the Carmel School District leeway to make more cost-effective use of savings and then spend from this reserve fund for any loss, claim, action or judgment directly related to the district’s self-insured plan.
The Carmel School District has self-insured their employees’ health benefit plans for over a decade and saved several million dollars by identifying the most cost-efficient health care plans and pharmaceutical contracts. Savings have helped maintain the school’s workforce and supported programs and services for students.