VOL. 131 | NO. 175 | Thursday, September 1, 2016
SCS Ponders How to Pay For Retirees’ Insurance
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Schools board members approved an $8.4 million, three-year agreement with MetLife Insurance to continue life insurance coverage of school system retirees Tuesday, Aug. 30, but it will cost $7.2 million more for the same coverage.
Still to be decided by the board is how to pay for the increase.
SCS superintendent Dorsey Hopson has suggested retirees pay half of the premium that the school system now pays to keep the same coverage.
The board called for formal recommendations from Hopson when it meets again in a month.
The shift of premiums drew the scorn of a vocal crowd of retired school teachers at the start of Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“I gave my life to this district. My husband gave his life to this district,” said retired teacher Clara Ford. “And it is not my fault that you cannot find the money.”
Other retirees complained that there was no notice beyond two weeks ago that such a change was being considered.
But Hopson said he outlined the idea in May to teacher groups as the board discussed dramatic shifts in employee benefits, including health insurance coverage.
“What I guess we should have done is brought this to the school board, kept talking about it,” Hopson said. “It’s the exact same recommendation. … This is not new.”
MetLife was the only insurance company that bid on the contract out of 14 sent information by the school system. The board acted to keep the same coverage at the increased price effective Wednesday, Sept. 1, when the old agreement or price guarantee expired.
Hopson also signaled that the school system’s Central Nutrition Center at 3176 Jackson Ave. will likely not be renovated following a roof collapse that has moved food services to several other buildings, including the recently closed Northside High School.
On the advice of school board member Billy Orgel, Hopson said the school system has hired a real estate agent to begin looking for new sites for the short-term relocation as SCS begins a search for a permanent location.
Orgel said there are 17 other locations the school system could explore.
The World War II-era building on Jackson was adapted for the school system’s use and Hopson made the call to move food services out of it on the advice of architects who, after inspecting the building last month, said it could either remain standing for years or collapse the next day.
“You’re going to have to make a move,” Orgel said Tuesday.
In other action, the school board approved eight roof replacement contracts at Chimneyrock, Evans, Grahamwood, Levi, Newberry, Oakshire and Sherwood elementary schools as well as Snowden K-8 school totaling $2.6 million.