FLCS discusses insurance rate increase at board meeting

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LAPEL — Employees at Frankton-Lapel Community Schools might see their insurance rates increase starting at the end of the year.

After three stable years of rates, the school board is considering an 18% increase starting in 2023 to cover rising claims and an increase in the number of employees.

According to a presentation at the board’s August meeting, a current single employee insurance plan costs $600 annually, a plan with children $1,049, with spouse $1,199, and a family plan $1,687.

With the increase in employees and number of claims this year, the district is currently $514,633 over where they were at this point last year.

The board — which has discussed increases at its past couple of meetings, including on Thursday, Sept. 8 — said they are working on a plan to help bring down costs in an attempt to make rates work going forward.

“We just need to make sure people understand what else is there,” Chief Operating Officer John Wills said. “Trying to educate our people on going to a minute clinic as opposed to going to an emergency room, and what’s really an emergency. It’s not just our cost, it’s their deductible.”

Superintendent Sterling Boles said emergency room costs isn’t the only place for cost savings; it’s also employees having preventative tests done. For instance, he said, only 11 employees had colonoscopies last year. He said they need more employees getting a variety of preventative tests done.

“The companies bidding on this look at all kinds of statistics. There’s a big growth area where we can educate people to do those types of things,” Boles said. “All the insurance people look at that and say, ‘Hey you aren’t doing your maintenance at the level it should be done at.’”

Step 1 in the board’s plan is a wellness initiative program that was laid out by Boles and approved by the board.

The program would begin in September and carry on throughout the remainder of the school year. September would be the relaunch of the wellness clinic, and from there the months would alternate between challenges and awareness.

October would be the first challenge and would deal with meeting the daily goal of recommended water consumption.

According to Boles, there would be incentive and prizes each month as well as bigger prizes for staff members that participated for the entire school year.

Other district news

  • The board submitted its proposal for an Attract, Prepare, Retain Grant, made available through the Indiana Department of Education. According to the IDOE website, the grant “is aimed at helping schools and communities strengthen, expand, and diversify the educator pipeline.” The two-year grant of $609,340 would help fund continuing education, pre-hire costs for substitutes and bolstering the cadet teaching program in the high schools. The main goal with the grant would be to retain teachers by helping with wellness costs and giving them incentives to take care of themselves. Another idea floated by the board was the implementation of an in-house daycare for employees with young children. The board was among 100-plus applications and is still awaiting a decision.
  • IREAD-3 scores from the spring were announced. Overall the district was at 91.8% passing. Frankton Elementary was at 94.8 percent and Lapel Elementary was at 88.9 percent. According to the IDOE website, “Statewide, results show that more than 65,000 of Indiana’s third grade students – or 81.6% – demonstrated proficient reading skills on the assessment. This is a modest improvement of 0.4 percentage points over results for the 2020-2021 school year. Overall, results remain 5.7 percentage points below pre-pandemic proficiency rates from the 2018-2019 school year, the last data set available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • The board discussed the request to name the Lapel High School basketball court “Jimmie Howell Court,” in honor of the former longtime basketball coach. The board could not come to a decision and chose to table the matter until its next meeting on Sept. 22.
  • The board approved a number of hiring recommendations: At Frankton Elementary School, Jenny Hoss (assistant principal). At Frankton Jr.-Sr. High School Rebekah Tilley (chemistry teacher); at Lapel Elementary School, Miranda Hill (kindergarten teacher), Alexis Dellinger (fifth grade teacher), Nicole Wehmeier (fifth grade teacher) and Jamie Whetsel (first Grade Teacher); at Lapel High School, Christina Jannings (assistant principal), Jessie Frazier (industrial technology teacher) and Devan Veatch (chemistry teacher).

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