Centre's insurance premiums to drop

Staff writer

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield representative Bruce Schultz, Centre’s district health plan for May 1 through April 30, 2015 will see a decrease in premiums if the board votes to continue its current plan.

The single premium will drop from $330 to $312 a month. Other plans will also see a decrease.

Schultz said the district is part of a pool of groups in Kansas that have 1 to 50 employees, and they receive a pool rate. The decrease in premiums at Centre is because the average age of employees has decreased slightly and claims have been low.

“My compliments to your employees,” Schultz said. “We don’t see that very often.”

He said Centre is grandfathered in under the Affordable Care Act and can keep its current plan as long as the district makes no changes to the plan. He advised the board to try to keep its grandfathered status as long as possible.

The district could apply to become a member of the ESSDACK insurance group that many other school districts belong to, but if accepted, it would have to pay almost $100,000 more per year for five years as a new member, Schultz said.

“I want you to be a part of ESSDACK, but right now, it would be a huge transition,” he said.

After his presentation, the board voted to approve the BCBS health plan contract. At its April meeting, the board will discuss adding a dental plan, as suggested by Schultz. The addition would not change the district’s grandfathered status.

David Sheppard, director of Marion County Special Education Cooperative, presented a written report to the board. He explained the cost increase the co-op is facing relating to providing health insurance for paraprofessionals. He said compliance may be put off for a year, but paras will still be required to have health insurance by March 31. He plans to educate them about it and help them find plans they can afford.

Sheppard said right now the additional cost to the Centre school district to insure special education paras would be $24,800, but that may change.

He said he is impressed with the amount of services MCSEC provides.

“Marion County is the first place I’ve seen that provides services from 0 through 21 years old,” he said.

Parents as Teachers coordinator Lori Soo Hoo reported that PAT currently is serving 10 families and 11 children in the Centre school district. She presented survey results that show the PAT program as expanding parents’ knowledge, confidence, ability, and time spent with their children.

The board approved the district’s continued participation in PAT at an approximate cost of $3,170.

The board approved an additional $5,000 to promote the Kansas Online Learning Program on the Internet.

After a five-minute closed session with Superintendent Brian Smith, Mariah Biehler of Herington was approved to attend Centre as an out-of-district student. She is in seventh grade. Todd Biehler is her father.

The after-prom committee received permission to use school facilities for the May 10 after-prom party.

The board extended Smith’s contract to June 30, 2016.

Smith reported that members of the National Honor Society would take a trip to Kansas City on April 4. They plan to visit the World War I Museum, Kansas City Zoo, and the Plaza.

The board was OK with Smith’s decision to allow junior high school students to ride the pep bus to basketball games.

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