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Taylor County Schools to pay $172,000 settlement

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Payment to be made to defunct state insurance trust

By Leslie Moore

 

After more than a year of intense negotiations, Taylor County Schools has approved a payment plan for the now-defunct Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust.

The Green River Regional Educational Cooperative represented 35 school districts, including Taylor, to reach a settlement with the trust, commonly known as KSBIT.

The trust was created in 1978 to provide workers' compensation insurance to Kentucky school districts through self-insured pools authorized under Kentucky law. According to its website, the pools allowed school districts to combine their resources while sharing the risk.

However, in early 2013, trust officials reported a major budget shortfall estimated at more than $50 million. The trust dissolved soon after and since then, officials have attempted to transfer the liability onto participating districts.

"We knew that this day was coming, that we were going to have to deal with repayment of some KSBIT funds and workers' compensation," Taylor County Superintendent Roger Cook said.

At last month's regular meeting, CFO Marcie Close told board members about the anticipated settlement. At the time, the District's responsibility was estimated at $185,000.

Close presented the Board with its payment options at its regular meeting last Tuesday. According to Close, the first option appears to be the most preferable. It would require the District to pay a total of $172,000 over the next six years.

"It's interest free. You pay 25 percent down, which would be $43,000," Close said.

The annual payment installment after that would be $21,549 over the next five years. Close said the first payment would be due by Aug. 31.

Other options that extended the time to pay tack on several thousands of dollars interest. A 10-year repayment plan would require the District to pay a total of $212,950. A 15-year plan would cost $251,000.

"I still have a hard time dealing with this, that a company went broke and we have to reimburse them," Cook said.

But if the Board doesn't agree to a payment option, Cook said the money would be taken out of the District's Support Education Excellence in Kentucky funds.

"So they're going to get their money either way," he said.

Board member David Hall asked if agreeing to one of the payment options would ensure the District wouldn't be responsible for any more of the deficit in the future.

Cook said there was some discussion during earlier negotiations that the roughly 170 districts in the settlement would be responsible for an additional $8 million. However, he said every district has fought hard to decrease their liability from the beginning.

"We fought the battle and I don't think it's gonna happen, but if it happens, it's just something we'll have to deal with," Cook said.

After some discussion, the Board voted unanimously to accept the $172,000 over six years payment plan.

"I don't like it, but we don't have a choice," Board member Jim Cheatham said.

Also at the Meeting:

• The Board approved a cyber snow day plan that will be submitted for Kentucky Department of Education approval. Cook said, if approved, students could complete course work online during snow days. The plan states that as long as a certain percentage of students check in online and complete their assignments, the District would not have to make up the day. Alternate arrangements would be made for students who don't have Internet access. Cook said he isn't sure if KDE will accept the plan.

• Taylor County Middle School Athletic Department was approved for its annual request of $20,000.

• The Board approved Taylor County High School English Department Chair Karen McAnelly to organize an educational trip for students to Europe in summer 2015.

• Assistant Superintendent Susan Kilby was appointed to serve as the District's world language coordinator to oversee the District's world language requirements set by KDE.

• The Board agreed to accept contract services for the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency Head Start. At a cost of $5 per child per day, the District's buses will pick up students who live on established routes. Under the agreement, no new routes will be created.

• The Board met in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken.

Personnel Report

• Retirements - Mellissa Jones, Taylor County Elementary School classroom educator; and Kathy Bagby, TCHS cook/baker.

• Resignations - Shelley Peterson, TCES exceptional child education teacher; Shari Daffron, TCMS cook/baker; Jeff Montgomery, TCES instructional assistant; Sherri Botkin, TCMS girls softball head coach.

• New hires - Kristin King, TCHS English teacher; Melanie McFarland, Maribeth Milburn and Tracey Rinehart, TCES classroom instructors; Paul McQueary, TCHS assistant principal; Stephanie Shirley and Elizabeth "Faith" Wright, TCHS math teachers; Remonda June Carney, TCES food service custodian; Jenny Etherington, TCES paraeducator; Tori Gatewood, marketing director; Dustin Graves, TCES instructional assistant; Madeline Gumm, marketing/student enterprise; Silvia Marcum, TCHS cook/baker; and Sherry Shively and Blake Sprowles, TCES custodians.

• Transfers - Laura Benningfield, TCHS principal; Melane Hall, TCMS ECE teacher; DiAnne Harris, instructional coordinator; Clint Graham, TCHS head girls basketball coach; Marty Mitchell, TCHS assistant boys cross country/track coach; and Hunter Smith, TCHS assistant football coach.

• Substitutes - Kelly Baugh, Kimberly Clark, Robin Johnson, Jenny McCubbin and Fred Purvis, certified substitutes; and Sandra Roby, Christy Rowan, Sue Sprowles, Judy Tucker and Deana Willis, food service classified substitutes.