Workers' Comp Rate Hike Hits School Districts, Too

Dec 7, 2016

Florida businesses are up in arms about a hefty workers compensation rate hike, and now lawmakers are worried about the fallout for school districts.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, predicts a 14.5 percent rate hike in workers compensation will cost school districts tens of millions of dollars.

Tallahassee Senator Bill Montford’s day job is CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. Montford says the association is still crunching the numbers, but he expects the 14.5 percent rate hike to cost schools tens of millions of dollars.

“You could foresee some type of legislation filed this session, but the fact remains, as we are sitting here today, school districts are worried. And they should be.”

With state tax collections essentially flat, Senators have been told not to expect an increase in the education budget, Montford says.

On the House side, Speaker Richard Corcoran is warning about budget cuts. House education Chairman Mike Bileca of Miami says he’s worried, too.

“Normally in the counties, districts are the largest employers, if not the, one of the top ones. And it’s going to affect all of us. And the more that it’s paid through workers comp, the less funds that are available for other benefits.”

Bileca says he’s yet to hear from school districts, but he expects to, soon.

Businesses first started sounding the alarm ealier this year, when the Florida Supreme Court struck down limits on attorney fees in the worker compensation system. That resulting rate hike is setting up another legislative battle between trial attorneys and the business lobby.