19 May 2009

State, County School Boards at Odds over OPEB

A lawsuit may be inevitable in the dispute between state officials and a growing roster of country school boards chafing beneath "other post-employment benefit" liabilities, The Associated Press reports.

"The two sides are at odds over non-pension benefits promised to teachers and school workers for once they retire," the article explains. "These other post-employment benefits, also known as OPEB, reflect mostly health care and life insurance."

The county board question why benefits owed these employees show up on their books, citing the state school aid formula responsible for most of their funding. They also object to 2006 legislation that requires them to list this liabilities as current and not long-term.

State officials are adamant that these teachers and school workers are county employees," the article said, and also believe that the 2006 measure reflects national accounting standards.

Some of the largest school systems -- Cabell, Kanawha and Wood -- are in talks about a possible lawsuit over the situation, AP reports.

The AP overview follows coverage by the Parkersburg News and Sentinel (earlier article here) and the Charleston Daily Mail.

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