Archive for Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Doubling of school space causes district’s insurance costs to rise

November 28, 2007

At nearly $190,000, insurance coverage costs are the highest since Superintendent Richard Erickson came to Tonganoxie in 1997.

But Erickson said that's because the district's building space has doubled with building of a new middle school and renovations to the high school and elementary school. Worker's compensation premiums also have increased.

At a special board meeting Monday at Tonganoxie Middle School, the board unanimously approved a one-year contract with Hawkeye Security for $189,380, beginning Dec. 1.

It is the third consecutive year that the district has gone with Hawkeye, an Overland Park firm, for property and liability insurance.

For 2005-06, the contract was for $154,950, and 2006-07, $154,349.

The bidding deadline actually was extended about a month, from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, because of concerns Tonganoxie insurance agent Diane Bretthauer had with the school's bidding process.

However, Hawkeye and the Kansas Association of School Boards were the only two entities to bid. And, KASB only bid on worker's compensation, which was $96,387, about $12,000 more than Hawkeye's bid ($84,307) in that area.

The previous highest contract during Erickson's time in Tonganoxie was 2004-05, when Evans Real Estate of Tonganoxie and KASB were selected for a total of $184,586. The next year, in Hawkeye's first year with the district, the school paid about $33,600 less in coverage costs.

Board member Kathy Baragary questioned wording in the bid that stated some items were subject to change. Giddings said those instances would not be a reduction in coverage, but might be covered under a different category.

Board member Mildred McMillon asked Giddings for his recommendations in leasing out school buses for outside events, especially religious events because of separation of church and state issues.

Giddings said school officials should check with lawyers as far as church and state separation issues.

The school provides its own drivers when groups request use of school buses.

Giddings said that was a good practice from a coverage standpoint, but that buses should be loaned out "as long as it's not a trip to Galveston (Texas), something of that nature. I'd probably want to draw a line on proximity."

At the meeting, the board also approved hirings of: Paul O'Neil as eighth-grade boys basketball coach; Suzanne Rucker, head sophomore class sponsor; Amy Johnson, assistant sophomore class sponsor; Barbara Gurss, head freshman class sponsor; and Kim Swearngin, assistant freshman class sponsor.

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