The White River Valley School Board is looking at the prospect of a substantial increase in health insurance premiums.
During their regular monthly meeting Thursday evening, Superintendent Layton Wall told the board he'd received notice from the carrier the corporation's rates were going up well over 30 percent for an increase of $337,000 per year.
"It's time to renew our insurance," said Wall. "It's through Anthem and they've been very good to us, but this past year, we've had several situations that resulted in higher claims."
Wall said he and Board Member Roger Weaver, along with a teachers' representative, had successfully negotiated for a slightly lower rate which was still an increase of 26.5 percent, or an additional $252,000 per year.
"This is difficult because it's not just school money, it's also teachers' money," said Wall.
The superintendent recommended the board approve a short-term renewal to give the team a chance to research other options and negotiate with other companies.
The board agreed with a vote to renew the current policy for one more month, through December.
In other business, the superintendent praised a community organization.
"I want to say thank you to the Worthington Lions Club," said Wall. "They are going to be purchasing dictionaries for the third grades at both the Worthington and Lyons Elementary Schools."
At the high school, the board gave the go-ahead for a new program, the Student Incentive Program, explained by Principal Lee Ann Engelhardt.
The program is designed to recognize and reward student achievement and attendance. To be eligible, Engelhardt said a student must be a junior or senior, have a B- or above in every class (not just an average), have no tardies and be in attendance every day unless they have an excused absence. The student must submit a weekly progress report to their home room teacher and their parent for approval. Then if they meet the qualifications and obtain the approval signatures, they will be rewarded with an "early out" -- allowing them to leave school 20 minutes early every Thursday.
In personnel matters, the board approved several appointments:
* Steven Toon as assistant baseball coach. Wall said Toon intends to donate his pay back into the baseball program.
* Brent Dyer and Levi Hostetter as volunteers with the baseball program
* Megan Neideffer as a student teacher in the elementary schools
* Kim Downey as assistant cheer coach
The board also accepted the resignation of Roger Maryfield from his position as varsity tennis coach.
Wall said the board will meet again on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. for a forum presentation by Myzak and Palmer, a Vincennes architectural firm that's been taking a close look at the district's three buildings to assess future needs.
Wall said no other business will be conducted by the board during the meeting. The presentation is expected to last about two hours.
The time and date of the presentation was set by the board. Wall said Myzak and Palmer had not yet confirmed the date so it is tentative. Wall said he'll get the word out in a public announcement in the event the date needs to changed.