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Trustees OK insurance change

Halifax County School Board members approved the recommendation of Patsy Akridge of Akridge Insurance and Finances to remove the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Key Care 300 health insurance plan from those offered to school board employees in the coming fiscal year.

The plan’s removal came during the Monday night school board meeting. 

The approved 2014-15 health insurance rates include a Key Care 30/1000, Key Care 30/2000 and Key Care 30/4000 plans. 

The employee share for the Key Care 30/1000 plan will be $82 per pay period, for the Key Care 30/2000 will be $52 per pay period and for the Key Care 30/4000 plan will be $8 per pay period. 

ED-7 Trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman commented on the plans being offered to employees saying, “The biggest thing was to keep the cost down for our employees, we had to go with a higher deductible.” 

If they had kept the Key Care 300 health insurance plan, Stoneman said employees would be forced to pay $190 a month. 

“We try to look out for employees. We tried to keep it as low as we could,” added Stoneman. 

According to Akridge, the renewal for the 2014-15 plan year reflected a 17.5 rate increase for a total projected cost to the school system and the employee of approximately $7.1 million.

However, Akridge said she was able to negotiate a 4.7 percent concession, which brings the overall increase down to about 12.8 percent.

After experiencing a year of large medical claims, medical costs went up 18.8 percent, which equated to approximately $483,000 and resulted in a ratio loss of 83 percent, said Akridge. 

The insurance consultant feels the new plan, transitioning from the $300 deductible to the $1,000 deductible, will be a “viable solution for everyone.” 

Akridge said the reasons for the structure of this benefit plan is to “continue to mitigate costs, eliminate the school board’s requirement to continue to escalate at those double digits…reduce overall future claim costs and minimize the employee payroll deduction.” 

The annual cost to the board will be $5,095,380, an increase of $132,030. 

In other business at the school board meeting, school board members tabled an agreement between South Boston/Halifax Early Learning Center and the Town of South Boston as well as a VSBA 2014 policy update. Those two matters will be considered during their special called meeting June 23. 

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon also recognized county public schools as winners of two awards.

She read two letters from the Director of Office of Career and Technical Education Services Lolita Hall that named Halifax County Public Schools the Region 8 winner of the 2014 Creating Excellence Business and Industry Award and the Region 8 winner of the 2014 Creating Excellence Advisory Award. 

Prior to adjourning, the school board returned to closed session to discuss personnel.

When they reconvened in open session, members approved a personnel report that included the following: 

Resignation of Kristin Berry, SPED Teacher Scottsburg Elementary effective June 30. 

 Resignation of Jennifer Smutz, a fifth grade Cluster Springs Elementary Teacher effective June 30. 

 Resignation of Emily Martin, Halifax County High School World History teacher effective June 2. 

 Retirement of HCHS Librarian Carolyn Nilsson effective June 30. 

 Appointment of Sinai Elementary teacher Sandi Francis with a salary of $36,976. 

 Appointment of Cluster Springs fifth grade teacher Jessa Luckey with a salary of $39,162. 

 Appointment of Halifax County Middle School U. S. History teacher Mary-Emily Sanford with a salary of $40,060. 

 Appointment of HCMS Instructional data coach Connie Puckett with a salary of $50,273. 

 Transfer of Cluster Springs Elementary teacher Amanda Cross to to Sydnor Jennings. 

 Transfer of ECSE teacher at Cluster Springs Early Learning Center Loran Clarke to pre K. 

 Transfer of Gloria Stewart from Meadville Elementary to Clays Mill Elementary. 

 Resignation of the Cluster Springs Elementary School secretary Gisella Mancilla effective July 31. 

 Retirement of Clays Mill custodian Louis Waller effective June 30. 

 Appointment of Donald Harris as Sinai Elementary custodian with a salary of $20,176.  

 Appointment of Rhonda McFadden as the secretary at Sydnor Jennings with a salary of $19,799.