Teacher Pension Costs Affect Budget Priorities

As reported in the Cumberland Times-News, last year’s shift of teacher pension costs from the state to counties is leaving a budget hole for Allegany and Garrett counties.  These Counties are finding that supplemental disparity grant, one of several components of last year’s legislation intended to mitigate the shift’s fiscal effect on counties, is not filling the hole.

Jason Bennett, Allegany County’s Finance Director, described that the supplemental disparity grant would not cover the new costs, leaving the county with additional expenses.

“The supplemental disparity grant does not cover the full cost of teachers pensions this year. The amount identified for teacher pensions … is $1,885,754… leaving the county to come up with more than $250,000,” Bennett said.

In Garrett County, there is also a difference between the disparity grant supplemental and the teach pension costs.  Last year, the County paid the difference between the supplemental grant, which was $406,400 and the teacher pension cost, which was $664,714.  This year, the teacher pension costs for Garrett County will increase, while the supplemental grant amount stays the same, according to the Times-News.

The county is still contemplating what level of funding can be paid to the County Board of Education, according to County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt, as cited in the Times-News.

“For fiscal year 2014 this same formula from the state shows $842,544 in teacher pension obligation with supplemental grant again at $406,400. The additional cost difference from 2013 to 2014 is $178,830. It is yet to be determined how much of the difference the county will fund,” Pagenhardt said.

For more information on this topic, read the full article from the Cumberland Times-News.