The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 14, 2014

Central schools change insurance carriers

By Janet Huffman Herald Correspondent
The Clinton Herald

---- — DEWITT — After many years with Employees Mutual Insurance Company of Des Moines through local agent David Deke, the Central Community School Board elected to contract with the Iowa Public School Insurance Program for services.

At its Wednesday meeting, the board passed a resolution for an intergovernmental agreement with other school districts for IPSIP, which is administered through Gallagher Insurance of the Quad-Cities. A savings of about $60,000 a year was the prime motivating factor for the change. The IPSIP cost is $175,654 and covers the worker compensation program as well as property, liability, automobile, etc. The EMC price was $236,358.

While acknowledging the good job that Deke Insurance has done for the district, board member Jim Irwin said the district’s attorneys have looked at the IPSIP proposal and the savings were significant. He noted the EMC safety dividend, which has averaged about $15,000 per year in the last five years, decreases the savings, but it is still substantial.

Board member Jennifer Naeve said there was something to having a local agent, but the account would be turned over to a different insurance agency in a few years. Deke said that insurance agent worked locally.

Board member Steve Fuglsang said he was bothered by the required 3-year contract, but it was the board’s responsibility to consider the savings.

With the recommendation of Superintendent Dan Peterson, who said it came down to a financial decision, all board members concurred the savings were enough to warrant the change, the company’s references were good and there was adequate coverage.

The board approved counting hours rather than days to complete state requirements in the 2014-2015 calendar year. Peterson said there were no changes to the previously approved calendar with 20.5 hours over the mandated 1,080 hours. However, he said, late starts and early dismissals could use some of the hours. Professional development no longer counts for instructional time and make-up days for weather will be completed at the end of the school year.

The board approved a sharing agreement with the Maquoketa School District for some classes, particularly college algebra and public speaking for college credit; a contract with the juvenile court liaison officer for 2014-2015 with the Department of Human Services supplementing $26,907 of the cost; and the second and final readings of some policy series revisions. The Clinton County Development Association Grant of $120,000 for facilities needs was accepted.

At the recommendation of the superintendent, the board chose the following legislative priorities: supporting continued progress in the development of rigorous content standards and benchmarks with the Iowa Core to improve student achievement; revising the foundation formula to equalize per pupil funding in all school districts; reform of Iowa’s K-12 education system in six areas; development and funding for research on best practices for early literacy strategies; and setting supplemental state aid by the date specified in the Iowa Code at a rate that encourages school improvement and reflects real costs.

Contracts with union personnel were approved. The Central DeWitt Education Association received a 3.99 percent increase at a cost of $324,393. The base pay rose by $287 and supplemental pay was approved for boys and girls bowling. Formerly these positions were volunteer.

Nutrition personnel received a 2.4 percent raise costing $9,934; teacher associates a 2.75 percent raise (Step 1, $11.50 per hour) costing $15,176; secretaries, a 2.77 percent raise ($13.20 per hour) costing $6,287; and custodians, a 2.65 percent raise (base $15.90 an hour) costing $10,858. The custodians’ contract is for two years.

In personnel changes, the board hired Abbi Lievens as a second-grade teacher at BA step 1, Tatiana McConnell as the fifth-grade teacher at BA step 5, Hailey Nichol as a .75 high school language arts teacher at BA step 2; and extended the contract of high school speech teacher Ramsey Hinkle to full time. Also hired were Spencer Lueders as eighth-grade football head coach; Bill Petsche as eighth-grade boys track coach; Craig Reuter as seventh-grade boys basketball coach; Lori Regenwether as shared junior class sponsor; Kelci Anderson as high school flag corps coach at .03 of the salary schedule; and for summer custodial work Ross Curtis, Jeanine Simmons, Cynthia McTier-Law and Peter Keegan, all at $8.40 an hour.

Resignations were accepted from Kirk Machovec as eighth-grade head girls track coach, Troy Steffens from seventh-grade boys basketball coach, and Liz LaKose from high school language arts teacher.

A contingent from the Central FFA program requested an opportunity to discuss the program.