PARKERSBURG - Wood County Board of Education members want to take a hard look at a supplemental retirement fund the district has been contributing to since 1938.
Board members were told Tuesday officials can find no policy governing the fund, which is under the supervision of a retirement board. The school board president sits on the retirement board.
"The organization is not part of the Wood County Schools system," said school board President Tim Yeater. "This doesn't have anything to do with us. We just contribute."
Finance Director Connie Roberts said last year Wood County Schools contributed $152,000 to the fund while employee contributions were only $112,000. Those employee contributions, about $100 per teacher annually, have been declining in recent years.
Roberts warned the lack of a written policy did not absolve the board of its responsibility.
"It is quite possible the board adopted a policy in 1938 and we've been participating since that time under that understanding," she said. Since the district's contribution has been standard practice for nearly 75 years, "just because you don't find it in writing doesn't negate the board's responsibility."
Board member Tad Wilson, who served on the retirement board for two years while he was school board president, said he feels the board must take action soon. The fund itself pays out very little to retirees, and the retirement board relies heavily on institutional memory rather than written policies and procedures, Wilson said.
"I would highly encourage an updated actuarial study be done," he said.
Wilson, who works as a financial adviser, said he also was concerned the supplemental retirement fund may not be following federal Internal Revenue Service guidelines, which may have changed dramatically since the fund was first created.
Superintendent Pat Law said he would begin work immediately on drafting a policy concerning the supplemental retirement fund, and Roberts recommended the board hire someone with expertise in retirement funds to conduct an actuarial study.
Board member Jim Fox said he mostly was concerned with understanding what the school board's responsibility and liabilities were.
"We want to define what our role is in this," Fox said.