A St. Tammany Parish School Board committee gave preliminary approval on Thursday to a pair of insurance carriers to provide a variety of policies for the next school year.
The Business and Administrative Affairs Committee as a whole voted 15-0 to approve coverage through Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Riverlands Insurance Services, Inc. In all, the insurance policies would cost $1.881 million, an increase of nearly $109,000 from last year’s total premium.
Arthur J. Gallagher would provide automobile liability, general liability and educators legal liability insurance at a cost of $375,000. That would be a $75,000 increase from the previous policy; school board officials said motor vehicle accidents occurring on the current policy caused the increase.
The board would pay Riverlands $936,490.40 for a $200 million property insurance policy (with a $5 million deductible) and $9,361 for coverage against terrorism.
A workers’ compensation policy through Gallagher would cost $290,866 (with a $1 million self-insured retention) and the board would pay $231,909 to Riverlands for National Flood Insurance Program coverage, as required by FEMA.
Approximately $37,000 would be paid to Gallagher for policies covering cyber liability/data breach, a blanket crime policy for employees and boiler and machinery coverage.
The school board will have a final vote on the insurance expenditures at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 13 in Covington.
Schools Superintendent Trey Folse presented his annual review of the school year to close the meeting. Folse spoke for an hour about a wide variety of highlights, which included starting the 2018-19 school year with mental health professionals and student resource officers working in each of the system’s 55 schools.
Near the end of his presentation, Folse touched on the May 4 elections in which voters backed a $175 million bond issue for school upgrades, as well as a 2-mill property tax that will pay to keep the officers and health professionals in parish schools on a continuing basis.
“Because of our track record of doing what we say we’re going to do, the people said they would vote for this,” Folse said. “They trusted us with their money. They trusted us with their students. We’re going to follow through.”
The School Board will meet several more times in June — for its regularly scheduled meeting on June 13, but also at 6 p.m. on June 11 and 18 for expulsion appeal hearings. The board will convene at 11:30 a.m. on June 18, as well, for the anticipated sale of $35 million in general obligation bonds to begin the $175 million capital campaign.
Sixteen schools will be getting physical upgrades, largely to eliminate portable buildings used for classroom space. All 55 schools will receive upgrades to digital services as part of the plan.
School Board Bond Attorney Grant Schlueter said last month that if the bond sale goes according to schedule, the money would be available to the school system for use on July 25.
School Board President Beth Heintz said the board also will have interviews this month for a new director of school food services. Current director Patricia Farris is retiring in July.
Regina Sanford, the school system’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, is due to retire June 28. The board already has conducted interviews for her replacement, who is expected to be publicly announced in July as well.