Purchase photos

Insurance claims trigger BOE discussion





A sharp increase in the workers' compensation insurance premium, a portion of the district's multi-peril insurance, has prompted the Hays USD 489 Board of Education to take a closer look.

The board discussed the higher premium at last week's work session, and approving the 2013-14 coverage is on the agenda for the Monday night meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Toepfer Board Room at Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.

The total premium increased from $342,548 in 2012-13 to $454,516 in 2013-14.

The workers' compensation premium accounts for much of the increase, going from $193,998 to $292,293. Commercial inland marine and umbrella premiums decreased slightly, but all other categories increased.

Some of increase is because the state took an increase, and "Liberty Mutual (the insurance company) took a rate increase because of claims," Larry Caspers, Insurance Planning Inc., said at the work session.

The school district has submitted $650,000 in worker's comp claims for the last five years, and "$417,000 of that is slips and falls, almost two-thirds," Caspers said.

James Leiker asked if the district could get information on where and how the falls occurred.

"We have done that," Caspers said. "Richard (Cain, deputy superintendent) has that information."

When Danielle Robben asked if the district had a safety coordinator, Cain said the former board clerk had sent out safety information.

"Our better course of action would be to figure out how we're going to implement a safety program -- $100,000 a year -- it seems like a good place to save," said Greg Schwartz, board president.

The board likely will delay discussion of a safety program for a future work session.

Other items on Monday's agenda include:

* Accepting Superintendent Will Roth's revised retirement letter. Roth will retire Oct. 1, 2013.

* Considering a contract with Randy Gustafson, management consultant, to create criteria for selecting a new superintendent and establishing processes to improve efficiency.

* Approving school and staff handbooks.

* Consider a proposal for soft drinks at Hays High School.

* Consider bids for copy paper and wireless infrastructure.

* Consider administrators' and directors' contracts and policies for contracts.

* Approve a policy for board committees.

* Approve board meeting dates.

* Consider the board attorney retainer fee.