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Board OKs administrator contracts

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Employees to bear burden of rising insurance costs

By KEVIN KOELLING
Managing Editor

CANNELTON – Cannelton School Board members approved at a regular meeting June 13 contracts for Schools Superintendent Alva Sibbitt Jr. and Principal Roger Fisher. They also heard a report from Sibbitt on a less-than-projected increase in the cost of health insurance and approved a bid for flooring work.  

Under Sibbitt’s contract, he will receive $65,000 for working 130 days beginning July 1. 

At his request, the board added 10 days and $5,000 to his contract.

“The (existing) contract calls for 120 days,” he said. “I worked 10 days more than the contract called for; that was my decision. I’m going to work whatever days it takes to get the job done. I would just like the board to consider increasing the number of days on my contract effective July 1 … which would, in effect, raise my salary by $5,000.” He noted the pay amount equals the $500 per day he was guaranteed when he was initially hired. 

Fisher will be paid $52,200 for 160 days beginning Aug. 1. Both administrators will also serve as teachers under the contracts. According to the Indiana Department of Education Web site, Sibbitt is licensed to teach biology, English, physical education and driving. Fisher is licensed to teach English and driving.

School employees’ insurance

School employees will take on the burden of insurance costs, ending a practice of the school corporation paying most of them. The superintendent said he worked with teachers to achieve an insurance-cost increase about one-tenth of the nearly 47 percent previously proposed.

“I worked with John Hoch from Harpenau (Insurance Agency of Troy) on this,” Sibbitt said. “As you know, our teachers only pay a dollar for all their insurance – medical, dental, vision, life (and) long-term disability.” The school corporation pays the remainder of their premium costs.

He said at the board’s April meeting Pekin Insurance of Pekin Ill., intended to raise the corporation’s premiums by 46.71 percent June 1.

“I didn’t want to go back into the bargaining process to try to bargain that each individual has to pay so much out of their own pocket,” he continued at the latest meeting. “The other way to do it to cut the cost was to increase the deductibles in the policy, which means that those that use it will end up paying more and if you’re fortunate enough to be healthy and don’t use it, you won’t pay any more.”

The corporation remains with Pekin but changed networks, and the deductible is rising from $2,500 to $5,000.

The corporation self-funds a portion of the deductible payments “and also, there’s a calendar-year deductible for each individual and family,” Sibbitt said. “In other words, the first $500 of doctor’s visits and prescriptions, they pay out of their own pocket.” 

For a family, that deductible is $1,000.

The corporation’s cost will increase by $6,897, or 4.5 percent, Sibbitt said, adding, “that’s a heck of a lot better than 47.”

“I did work with the teachers on this, and I do have a letter from Michelle Coleman, who is now the (Classroom Teachers Association local-chapter) president, indicating that the teachers concur with this and they will not file a grievance,” he said. “Again, I want to really reiterate how much I appreciate the teachers working with me on these types of situations where our costs have gone up. They have just been fabulous in helping us try to resolve some of Cannelton’s financial problems. What we did, nobody liked it; I didn’t like to have to do it, but we couldn’t afford an $87,000 increase in our budget.”

Gym-floor work

The board also voted to accept a $2,750 bid from C&C Custom Cleaning of Hawesville, Ky., to strip and recoat the gymnasium floor at the community center. Another bid, one for $5,077, was submitted by Glenn’s Cleaning Service of Tell City.

The reason C&C could do it for so much less, Sibbitt explained, was its owner “didn’t have work lined up for (his workers) to do, so he gave us a pretty good deal.”

The resurfacing will be done every other year, he added, explaining some schools do it every year with their own workers, and have to pay only for materials, “but we have to outsource it.”