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Last updated: Wed. Dec. 11, 2013 - 07:20 am EDT

EACS will self-fund worker's compensation insurance


East Allen County Schools will self-fund its worker's compensation insurance, after its board unanimously approved the action during a meeting Tuesday evening.

The board previously had heard a presentation from the district's business manager, Kirby Stahly, that by self-funding, EACS would avoid rate increases and the renewal of premiums that, on average, were higher than their annual claims.

Information presented during Tuesday's meeting stated that for the first few years of self-funding, EACS will need to build up its initial balance in its trust account before long-term savings will be realized. The district would also need access to its Rainy Day Fund if there were what it termed "catastrophic expenditures" before the trust balance is sound.

Stahly had previously explained that the district would face only two costs with self-funding: third-party monitoring of the trust, and the fees needed to retain a stop/loss carrier that would limit EACS' exposure should claims exceed a predetermined threshold.

Also on Tuesday, the board formally approved the selection of Parkview Health Systems as its health-care provider for the next five years. That vote was 6-1, with board member Arden Hoffman casting the dissenting vote. The selection process had been questioned by Parkview's chief rival in the region, Lutheran Health Network, which claimed that its bid would have resulted in greater cost benefit to the district.

The board also heard about how EACS intends to spend on what it termed "Phase I" of construction that will be funded by the recent approval of the district's use of General Obligation bonds. The initial phase will see projects at multiple schools and will spend about $1,351,000 of about $1.8 million available. The actual bonding was for $2 million, but associated fees and other costs push the amount available to spend down.

The board will likely hear about possible architects and construction options during its next meeting, which will be held in January.

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