School district employees want better insurance
Recommendations regarding health insurance for district employees was the big topic of discussion at Monday night's Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting. About 25 district employees attended the meeting.
The health insurance committee, headed by Sue Ryan, a teacher at Basehor-Linwood High School and president of the district's teacher's association, presented a report to board members.
According to the report, some teachers have left the district "not because our salary schedule is uncompetitive, but because other districts offer a competitive salary plus paid insurance benefits." Area districts such as Bonner Springs, Fort Leavenworth and Tonganoxie pay part of an employee's health insurance, while many others pay the entire portion of the employee's coverage.
The problems with USD 458 health insurance issues has "escalated to the point where one district employee, who has worked for our district for 18 years, now writes a check to the district each month because her pay does not cover the cost of our health insurance."
The committee came up with four recommendations to the board. They are:
Begin open enrollment in a revised Health Net HMO plan starting immediately, with coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2001, with the district paying the full cost of a single policy for full-time employees.
Continue with Health Net coverage through Sept. 30, 2001.
If participation numbers allow, switch to a state health insurance program with coverage beginning Oct. 1, 2001. If participation numbers do not allow, continue with Health Net coverage.
Add to board policy and to the teacher's negotiated agreement a provision that all new hires in the district are required to participate in the district health care program.
The committee feels the recommendations can be put into action immediately, with current existing funds, but added the "board will have to look at its options for the coming years and consider budgetary shirts or other methods of generating funds."
No action was taken by the board, but the item will go on the agenda for the December board meeting.
Last month, the board heard from BLHS athletic director Joe Keeler in regards to a proposal from the Kansas State High School Activities Association to change the current four-team districts in football to eight-team districts.
BLHS principal William Hatfield, who attended a regional administrators meeting recently, said the regional administrators were against the proposal. The KSHSAA has asked school districts across the state to give their opinion on the proposal and Hatfield asked the Basehor-Linwood board to not approve it. The board did so unanimously (6-0 with board member Don Kloeppel not present).
The board also heard from Don Swartz regarding the auxiliary staffing committee's recommendations for adding additional staff in the district.
The board approved adding a middle school secretary, one additional nurse, an elementary counselor and making the temporary office help at Basehor Elementary a full-time position and to allow Debbie Dearinger to continue in that position.
All of the positions were individually voted on and all passed on 6-0 votes except the position regarding the office help at BES. Board member Danny Dearinger had to abstain from voting because the position involves his spouse.
Swartz also commented on a list of capital outlay and bond projects the board needed to approve to proceed with the final spend down on bond investments.
Among the items the board approved were restroom improvements at BLHS and BES, upgrading the phone system at BLHS, replacing doors and adding a football scoreboard at Linwood and wall mats for the wrestling area at BLHS.
In other action, the board:
Approved all consent items, including the minutes of the Oct. 16 board meeting, bills and payroll and the treasurer's report.
Heard a report from Cal Cormack, acting superintendent, on the Fast ForWord reading program.
The district began a pilot program last year with 10 students who were struggling with reading and the district wants to expand the program to include 20-50 students.
During his superintendent's report, Cormack told the board he was contacted by Leavenworth County officials that three housing subdivisions were in the process of being started and to expect around 430 new homes, all in the Glenwood Ridge attendance area.
Two hundred of the homes are slated for an area near 174th and State Ave., 150 more at County Road 2 and Metro and an additional 80 in Cedar Lake.
Cormack told board members that effective Monday, Nov. 20, the school district would no longer be providing crossing guards in the area around Basehor Elementary School.
Actually, the crossing guards were teachers who volunteered to help students cross the street, adjacent to the school and at 155th and Leavenworth Rd.
Based on talks with the district's attorney, the district has no authority to control traffic on city streets. Thus, if there had been an accident, there could have been legal and insurance consequences.
Cormack also told the board that the City of Basehor has no statutory requirement to employ crossing guards, even in a school zone. Cormack said he has been in touch with Basehor mayor John Pfannenstiel regarding the issue to find ways to solve the situation.
According to BES principal Teddi Stern, parents were notified of the change in a school newsletter sent home with students last Friday.
Also in his report, Cormack also mentioned to the board that BLHS science teacher Kevin Suther had been selected by NASA for a scholarship and to attend a program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Received a letter from Leavenworth County clerk Linda Scherer to use Basehor-Linwood High School and Glenwood Ridge Elementary as voting precincts. The board will take action at the December meeting.
- Approved the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, as presented by Clubine and Rettele, Chtd., based out of Salina. The report "found no instances of noncompliance that are required to be reported under government auditing standards, all financial statements free of material misstatement and no material weaknesses involving the internal control over financial reporting and its operation."
- Approved Clubine and Rettele, Chtd., to do the audits for the district for fiscal years ending June 30, 2001 and June 30, 2002 at a cost of $5,150.
- Approved the payment of registration fees totaling $260 for two Basehor-Linwood Middle School students and a teacher to attend a national convention.
Hannah Brown, seventh grader, and James Nelson, eighth grader, along with Wendi Bogard, vocal music instructor, will be attending the National American Choral Directors Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas, March 14-17, 2001. Brown and Nelson will be a part of 250 students from the United States selected to perform at the convention.
Besides the registration fees, the board also approved the trip because it is out of the state.
- Approved contracts for Lori Ellis, LES library aide and Francis Crigger, LES food service.
- Accepted the low bid of $63,339 from Byers Glass and Mirror for window and door replacements at LES.
- Heard a report from student representative Jessica Kelley.
- Approved a change in the date of the next board meeting. The board has rescheduled its December meeting to Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. from Monday, Dec. 18. The move was necessitated because of a planned "grand opening" at the high school and combination band/music concert on the 18th.
The board also approved Monday, Jan. 29, 2001, as the next board workshop.
- Took no action after a 35-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters.