2012-03-08 / Letters to the Editor

Taxpayers have full access to school budget

Eric Lexow’s March 1 letter to the editor (“Taxpayers should see entire school budget”) raises questions about taxpayer access to school budget figures. The budget approved by the Jamestown School Committee on Feb. 16 is readily available on the School Committee’s page on the school’s website, and hard copies are available upon request at the central office at Melrose Avenue School. The School Committee held three public budget hearings during February, which can be viewed online at JamestownRe cord.com.

The Other Post-Employment Benefi ts numbers that constitute the “unfunded liability” are available on pages 55-57 of the town of Jamestown’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. Actuarial as- sumptions are also detailed therein. Paul Dansereau of independent auditors Baxter Dansereau & Associates reviewed the financial statements at a Jan. 17 meeting of the Town Council, which can be viewed online. The financial statements document is available online on the finance department’s page on the town website.

For clarity, it is important to make the distinction between the pension system, which is state run and for which the employee and employer contribution rates are set by the state, and the OPEB liability, which comprises the postemployment health care benefits for two groups of teachers: those hired prior to Aug. 31, 1985, and those hired between Aug. 31, 1985 and July 1, 1997. Teachers hired after 1997 do not receive post-employment health benefits and hence do not impact OPEB liability.

We hope that these clarifications are helpful.

Cathy Kaiser
Chairwoman
Jamestown School Committee

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