Purchase photos

USD 489 discusses high insurance costs





Much of Monday night's Hays USD 489 Board of Education meeting agenda was devoted to reorganization for the new fiscal year that began July 1.

Appointments of federal nutrition services representative, public information officer, Title I representative, official newspaper and depositories for school funds were approved as recommended.

One item routinely approved by board members annually was tabled until Monday's work session.

The board declined to approve resolution GAPP15 waiving the requirements for generally accepted accounting principles for 2014-15 per K.S.A. 75-1120a until the district's auditors explain why it's required.

Asking for information on options, the board also tabled approving the purchase of multi-peril insurance.

Estimated total premium renewal cost was $473,369, compared to $450,971 last year.

"Work Comp. insurance continues to be a problem," said Larry Caspers, Insurance Planning Inc. president.

Through May 23 the district had 21 claims for $227,394 during the past fiscal year, making coverage unprofitable, he said.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, the district's current insurance carrier, offered a workers compensation renewal of $368,577, a $76,284 premium increase over last year.

Caspers said Liberty Mutual wasn't interested in negotiating the price, so he looked to other companies.

United Heartland Accident Fund came in with a premium that was $55,283 less than Liberty Mutual, but still $21,001 more than last year.

Board vice president Marty Patterson asked if the company had safety training.

"Fall prevention seems to be our No. 1 problem," Patterson said.

Board member Greg Schwartz asked if the district has adopted any safety policies and procedures.

"We're a year later, and we're in the same boat, and we haven't made any substantial improvement in that regard," Schwartz said of the number of claims.

Superintendent Dean Katt said the district has appointed a safety committee.

Since the workers compensation policy had no deductible, Schwartz asked for costs for policies with deductibles.

When asked about other districts, Caspers said they usually don't have deductibles on their policies because "you have to have a contingency fund, and that's hard to budget."

"We're not in much of a position where we can take much risk," said board member Josh Waddell. "We've got to get our safety program. ... Until that happens, I don't see where we can take any risks at all."

Board member Sarah Rankin asked about changing the $2,500 deductible on the property policy.

"We can look at anything, but I think what we have is sufficient and is working," Katt said. "If we increase that deductible, it's using our cash on hand that we're very limited on."

The board voted to table the purchase, and asked Caspers for information on options with deductibles and redacted claims information.

In other business:

* The board appointed Bill Jeter board attorney. Jeter's retainer fee for "two board meetings a month is $2,000. Three (meetings) is $3,000, and $175 an hour for negotiations, due process and litigation," Katt said.

* The board accepted a bid from Ideal Refuse Removal for garbage removal and recycling.