Schools’ health care costs rising
Concerns with the rising cost of health care insurance were addressed during the Manawa School Board meeting Monday, Feb. 16.
“Right now we have very high premiums,” said Angela Hanson, director of financial services. “We are not looking to eliminate the structure of the insurance, but to reduce the cost of the health insurance to the district.”
Hanson noted that currently the district is near the top end for cost per premium.
“Because we are near the high end, when our rates increase each year we are tacking on to that higher premium,” she said.
Hanson suggested that the district considering looking at other consultants.
“I feel strongly that we can find a better match for our district,” Hanson said. “We need to put them to work right away, so we get better pricing for our health plans.”
Staffing changes were also addressed by the board.
“With the purposed $113,000 in state aid reduction, we need to look for different things,” David Strebe said. “We are shifting stuff around and will go forward with adopting a preliminary budget, with the intention of adopting a balanced budget.”
Strebe noted that they do not have all the answers right now.
Proposed changes would include the elimination of a current maintenance position and reducing kindergarten, third grade, fourth grade and sixth grade by one position.
Additions would include a reading specialist through Title 1 funding, a full time counselor and the addition of one teacher at the first grade level.
“I have concerns about putting too many students in a classroom,” said community member Esther Rosenau. “The teacher will not have the time to do what they are supposed to do.”
In other business, the board approved policy 461 for Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarships.
According to the information provided, the Technical Excellence Scholarship, which will be available beginning in the 2015-16 school year, would provide an award for up to $2,250 to high school seniors who have demonstrated the highest level of proficiency in technical education subjects.
“This is a great opportunity for our students,” said Vice President Helene Pohl. “We want to give them every opportunity possible.”
Michelle Kaczorowski, Manawa Athletic Booster Club president, gave a presentation to the board on accomplishments of the organization.
“We are here to support the kids and athletics,” Kaczorowski said. “In 2014 we gave the district a total of $21,227 in donations.”
Board President Scott Rice thanked the organization for all they do.