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Dist. 54 loses worker’s comp insurance plan

Policy dropped because too many claims filed

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 8:49 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 8:50 a.m. CST

Morris Elementary School District 54 is going out for bid for a new worker’s compensation insurance policy.

District Superintendent Teri Shaw told members of the Board of Education at the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday that the district’s policy was dropped because of too many claims.

There were no major claims, Shaw said, just too many.

Board President Carol Narvick said she did not understand, however.

“What do they expect from districts our size?” she asked. “I mean, how do they say when it’s too much?”

Vice President Jim Ringer explained that it is most likely determined by the number of incidents rather than the cost of each incident.

“We’ve asked for the data to show us exactly what’s been the issue, but we’re still waiting on that report back,” Shaw said.

Claims included accidents such as slips on ice on the north side of White Oak Elementary, falls on a school bus, and incidents where teachers cut their hands with the paper cutter and a knife during lunchtime.

Committee members also recalled incidents involving students, such as when a student bit a teacher or when a student’s bouncy ball hit a teacher in the eye, for example.

Last year, the district paid about $66,000 for worker’s compensation insurance. Prior to that, the policy cost around $50,000. Shaw expects it to increase again next year.

Narvick assured the committee members that steps the district is already taking should help with the claims.

Specifically, she noted the newer Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS) implemented at the schools for student-related incidents and the fact that the district has already fixed the icing situation that occurs on the north side of White Oak.

DECENTRALIZATION OF OT/PT

Upon a “strong” recommendation from Melissa Groot, director of Special Populations for Dist. 54, the Finance Committee discussed the recent decision to decentralize occupational and physical therapist (OT/PT) services from the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative.

“Melissa (Groot) has done a lot of research on the services we use with OT/PT and has demonstrated that the price we pay for OT/PT services with the Co-op, we’re not going to be able to get that kind of service autonomously,” Shaw told the committee.

Shaw also noted that the Co-op’s OT/PT staff member is “pretty amazing.”

Groot is recommending the Board of Education rescind its notice to decentralize OT/PT services.

“This is why we hired a special education director,” Narvick said. “She is directing us to do the best thing for the kids.”

The board will be asked to make a final decision at its full board meeting Monday, Oct. 15.

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