Employee insurance top discussion at Trenton R-9 Board of Education meeting

Trenton R-9 School District

The Trenton R-9 Board of Education discussed health insurance options at its meeting on Tuesday evening.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers reported if the district stayed with Blue Cross Blue Shield next school year, the basic plan would cost $658.34 per month per employee. That is an increase of about 15% of what the district currently pays. Wiebers said the increase would cost the district $202,860 more for the year and be about 12% of the budget. He presented information on a United Healthcare basic plan, which would be $601 per month per employee.

Wiebers said he spoke with a representative from National General Insurance Tuesday. A National General basic plan would cost $511.24 per month per employee, which would save the district $61.45 per month per employee. The reason for the premiums costing less was because there would be higher copays and pharmacy costs. The plan would pay 150% of Medicare price and would include telemedicine and a wellness program. Cigna manages pharmacy benefits.

Wiebers said the school district would not have to pay for terminal liability insurance while with National General but would have to pay it later if the district left the company. After two years of coverage, the district would save enough to cover the cost of the terminal liability insurance. Wiebers noted 20 to 30 retirees still receive health insurance coverage through the district.

The board discussed putting a cap on the amount the school district would pay for health insurance at $600 and having the employees pay anything above that amount. If the board voted to put a cap on the amount the district paid, there would have to be a policy change.

The Trenton Board of Education will meet Monday, May 20th at noon to hear from a representative from National General and vote on health insurance for next school year.

Building Project Liaison Dennis Gutshall said staff and architects have met to go over plans for the building project, and the project is now in the design phase. Three engineers were on site Tuesday, and surveying is to be done this week. Gutshall said there will need to be a detailed plan before going to bid and advised that the district should slow down before bids are sent out to get a better end product. He expects the district to be able to go to bid and hold a pre-bid meeting in July and that bids would be due August 6th.

Gutshall believes the board will be able to approve bids at the August meeting, and the district could break ground on the performing arts center around the start of the 2019-2020 school year. His goal is to be able to use the performing arts center for the Vespers Service in 2020.

Construction at S. M. Rissler Elementary School would probably start next summer. Another meeting with architects is scheduled for Thursday.

Wiebers said he spoke to George K. Baum about going to market on bonds for the district. The firm advised waiting until July or August due to more bonds being in circulation with bonds for the new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport.

Wiebers reported he plans to share the budget proposal for next school year at the June 11th board meeting. The board will need to schedule a final fiscal year meeting the final week of June to approve the 2019-2020 budget and final bills for payment as well as to close out the 2018-2019 budget. The date for the final fiscal year meeting will be set at the regular June meeting.

The board approved a grant request from Anna Muselman for a GEC Community Foundation Grant for $969. It is a non-matching grant and would be used to purchase listening centers for the five preschool classrooms.

Bonita Price from Citizens Bank and Trust presented the board with two checks with funds generated from the Bulldog Debit Card Program. The school district receives five cents for every swipe of Bulldog Debit cards. The check for the fourth quarter of 2018 was for $3,068.15, and the check for the first quarter of 2019 was for $2,947.80. Both total $6,015.95. Wiebers said the funds raised from the Bulldog Debit Card Program go to special activities for students and staff.

It was announced the Missouri State Board of Education classified the Trenton R-9 School District as accredited under the Missouri School Improvement Program 5.

Wiebers reported Teacher Appreciation Week in the district was a “great week”, and “many events” were held at the different buildings for teachers. He thanked the 176 teachers, paraprofessionals, office staff members, nurses, custodians, administrators, and cooks for their service. He also expressed appreciation to Wright Memorial Hospital and the Grundy County Health Department for offering free sports physical exams for students planning to participate in athletic and cheerleading activities next school year.

Rissler Elementary Assistant Principal Kayli Burrell reported on the Title Program Evaluation. She said one objective of the program was to have 80% of students reading on or above grade level.

After being asked several questions about prom from board members, High School Principal Don Franklin reported prom attendance was 113. He said 19 students were not going to be allowed to go originally, however, five students appealed, and four appeals were accepted. Trenton High School Assistant Principal Kasey Bailey said he spoke with students not allowed to go to prom, and they told him they were not interested in attending anyway.

The board recognized retiring World History teacher Vince Fender for his 18 years of service to the school district. He received a retirement bell and a one-year membership to the Missouri Retired Teachers Association. Fender thanked the board for its support throughout his time with the district.

Trenton Middle School Principal Daniel Gott introduced the middle school Students of the Month for May for the character trait Loyalty.

The board entered into a closed session for personnel.