Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and State Senator Pete Harckham Announce Carmel Central School District Now Authorized to Establish an Insurance Reserve Fund

New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Pete Harckham announced that their bill to allow the Carmel Central School District to establish an insurance reserve fund to maintain the district’s self-insurance for staff, administration and retiree health care was approved in the legislature.

The bill (A.04494/S.04481), sponsored by Galef in the Assembly and Harckham in the Senate, will amend the state’s General Municipal Law and go into effect immediately once it is signed by the governor.

When enacted the new legislation would give 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 healthcare plans and pharmaceutical contracts. Savings have helped maintain the school’s workforce and supported programs and services for students.

All municipal corporations around the state and several 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.

“I was happy to partner with Senator Harckham to sponsor this legislation,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “This bill will help the Carmel School District avoid financial burdens that could lead to large year-to-year variations in claims.”

“This legislation will give the Carmel district flexibility in funding basic services and responding to unforeseen expenditures,” said Senator Harckham. “I applaud efforts like this that help local taxpayers and am pleased to have been able to partner with the district in this regard.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “As someone who graduated from the Carmel School District nearly twenty 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. I thank my colleague Assemblymember Sandy Galef for introducing the legislation in the Assembly and was happy to show my support as cosponsor.”

The health insurance reserve would aid the district in planning its annual budget and whether increases or decreases in health insurance expenditures, Galef and Harckham noted.