Written by Charles Cardillo, Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Friday, 10 May 2013 00:00
Manhasset Public Schools: The Pension Contribution Stabilization Programs
Total pension contributions in the 2013-14 Preliminary Budget were $8.1 million, an increase of $2.1 million over 2012-13.
Contributions are mandated by New York State and based on actuarially determined contribution rates set annually by each plan. The rates for 2013-14 are: 16.25 percent for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and 20.9 percent for the Employees Retirement System for support personnel (ERS). These actuarially determined contribution rates are called ARCs.
In Spring 2013, NYS and the TRS Board approved a Stable Contribution Option (SCO) that gives districts the ability to better manage the spikes in required pension contributions. ERS followed suit and modified its existing SCO.
Each plan allows districts to pay the actuarially required pension contribution amount or to opt into the SCO. For TRS, the 2013-14 SCO rate is 14 percent. For ERS, it is 12 percent.
The district determined to opt into both SCO plans for 2013-14, and defer payment of the difference between the TRS ARC of 16.25% and the TRS SCO of 14 percent, or $1,029,092; and will defer payment of the difference between the ERS ARC of 20.9 percent and the ERS SCO of 12 percent, or $231,319.
The TRS SCO is a seven-year deferral plan. Payment of the 2013-14 deferred amount will commence in year 6 of the program (2018-19) and continue for five years. The district can opt out of the plan at any time, resume paying the ARC, and begin repayment of deferred amounts over five years.
Under the ERS SCO, payment of deferred amounts begins the year immediately following the deferral and the repayment period is 12 years. Once made, election to opt into the plan is permanent. However, the District can choose not to defer payment in any given year.
In both plans, interest is based on 10-year U.S. Treasury securities, plus one percent.
The decision to opt into the TRS and ERS SCOs reduced total pension contributions in the 2013-14 Proposed Budget to $6.8 million, $1.3 million less than the Preliminary Budget.
Under the TRS SCO, the first payment for the amount deferred from 2013-14 is estimated to be $200,040 in 2018-19. Under the ERS SCO, the first payment for the amount deferred from 2013-14 is estimated to be $54,013 in 2014-15. The 2013-14 budget includes a $300,000 provision to meet these future payments. The district anticipates that its future budgets will continue to contain sufficient provision for TRS and ERS to meet its funding obligations as they come due.
The primary benefit of participation in the plans is the elimination of the uncertainty of future pension contributions rates for the near-term, thereby providing the district with significant assistance in maintaining the 4 A’s, as widely varying ARCs negatively impact the district’s ability to do so.
Manhasset Public Schools - Budget Facts:
* For five consecutive years, from 2009-10 through 2013-14, Manhasset’s average budget-to-budget increase of 2.13 percent remained consistently below the Nassau County average for school districts.
* For five consecutive years, from 2009-10 through 2013-14, Manhasset’s average levy-to-levy increase of 2.55 percent remains consistently and significantly below the Nassau County average for school districts.
* In 2005-2006 (the year Superintendent Cardillo arrived in Manhasset,) Manhasset’s costs per pupil ranked third in Nassau County. For the 2011-2012 school year, Manhasset ranked 17th in costs per pupil in Nassau County.
* In the last five years from 2009-10 through the 2013-14 budget, Manhasset has added 1.59 full-time equivalent employees, while during the same time, enrollment has grown by over 200 students
* Manhasset has the lowest school tax rate in Nassau County.
School Supermajority (60 percent) Budget Vote and Board Member Election—Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Manhasset Secondary School Gymnasium, 6:30 am to 10 pm. For registration information and absentee ballot information, please call 267-7724 or visit http://www.manhasset.k12.ny.us.
Manhasset Public Schools - Focus on the 4A’s:
Academics, Athletics, the Arts and Activities
88 of graduates from the classes of ‘10, ’11, and ’12 who are enrolled in four -year colleges, are enrolled in schools listed in Princeton Review’s The Best 376 Colleges.
87 percent of the Class of 2012 achieved Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation. This was the second highest rate among school districts on Long Island where the average advanced diploma rate was 51.9 percent, and in Nassau County, 56.4 percent.
Manhasset students scored in the top five among all school districts in Nassau County in 11 of the 12 grade levels tested on the Spring 2012, Grade 3-8, NYS English Language Arts and Mathematics Assessments.
In 1999 the number of AP tests administered in Manhasset High School totaled 399 resulting in a 63.7 percent passing rate—as compared with 2012 when 1,119 AP exams were administered with an 82 percent passing rate. Manhasset’s 82% passing rate compares with the nationwide passing rate of 58.2 percent.
78 percent of Manhasset’s middle school students (grades 7-8) participate in interscholastic athletics.
74 percent of Manhasset’s high school students (grades 9-12) participate in interscholastic athletics.
Overall, 75 percent of Manhasset’s student population (grades 7-12) participates in interscholastic athletics.
As a curricular program, 100 percent of the 1,683 students in grades K-6 participated in music and art in 2011-12.
In the middle school, 494 of 571 students in grades seven and eight participated in music, visual art or theatre for an 87 percent participation rate in 2011-12.
In the high school, 698 of 937 students in grades 9-12 participated in music, visual art or theatre for a 75 percent participation rate in 2011-12.
Of the district’s 2011-12 K-12 enrollment of 3,191 students, 2,875 students participated in music, visual art or theatre for a 90 percent participation rate.