South Adams awarded school safety grant
According to superintendent Scott Litwiller, South Adams Schools has been awarded a Secured School Safety Grant. The school was notified on Friday, November 1 that they were awarded $21,600. The grant is a matching grant, which means it will match dollar for dollar the school’s expenses towards school safety.
Safety items covered under the grant are school resource officer expenses for the second semester (maximum amount-$12,450), maintenance of Adams County fireworks system (maximum amount-$1,000), auto mechanics safety fence (maximum amount-$5,000), door card reader for the agriculture workshop (maximum amount-$1,500), renumbering entrance numbers per the state police request (maximum amount-$650), and classroom emergency go kits (maximum amount-$1,000).
The Adams County fireworks system provides the county with access to the fire panels at the school as well as to the cameras. This allows for more accurate information to be provided to the dispatchers who may be directing fire or police departments who are entering the school. The system is already in place in all three schools, and the annual maintenance fee is split three ways.
With the resignation of school resource officer Scott Dailey, the town of Geneva has started the process of hiring a new SRO. This process is likely to take about two months. The goal is to have a new SRO officer in place when students return to school from Christmas break on January 6, 2014. Until a new SRO can be hired, Geneva town marshal Rob Johnson is acting a substitute SRO.
Litwiller presented information to the school board regarding the Affordable Care Act. Due to the ever-changing nature of this topic, he was hesitant to speak in detail about what this means for the school. He stated that under the new health care regulations, large employers must provide affordable health coverage to all full-time employees.
As a large employer is defined as a business with 50-plus employees, this would include South Adams Schools. Healthcare is considered not affordable if it exceeds 9.5 percent of the employee’s household annual income. Litwiller stated that the easiest way to determine this amount is to look at an employee’s W-2 form. There was some question as to whether “household income” would include the spouse’s income or if the school would be going strictly off the employee’s income. Litwiller stated that the SEBT has created a healthcare option that complies with the new regulations. He also stated that if he understands the information correctly, to be in compliance with the new regulation, the school has to provide at least one option that is considered affordable. Not all of them have to be “affordable” as defined by the government. So, depending on which insurance plan the employees decide to go with, the new healthcare could cost the school any between $57,000 and $255,000.
“Chances are, it’s going to be somewhere in between those two figures,” stated Litwiller.
Penalties for not complying with the new regulations come in two options. The school could be penalized for not making insurance available or for not making it affordable. The penalties for not making it available would be $2,000 per employee. With 160 full-time employees working at the school and the first 30 infractions being waived, this would total out to $260,000. The penalties for not making the insurance affordable would be $3,000 per full-time employee that can’t afford the coverage. This would more than likely fall significantly less as affordability depends on the income of each individual employee.
Litwiller stated that the school is currently in a measurement period of recording all of the hours of classified staff that are considered full-time employees (30+ hours). He also stated that compliance with the new regulations has been delayed until January 1, 2015, so the school has some time to figure out what all the regulations mean and how they want to deal with it.
In other news:
- The board approved the superintendent’s new contract, which will be effective from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017.
- The board was presented with a draft of the 2014-2015 Adams County Community School calendar. A completed calendar should be ready to be approved by the December school board meeting.
- The garage sale for surplus AV equipment is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22.
- The board will have a work session at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 26 to discuss and consider updates to school board policies, to discuss extra-curricular financial report and farmland, and to discuss budgetary options regarding the upcoming healthcare changes.
- BND Commercial Real Estate has reported that there have been some inquiries on the elementary school property and that they are doing follow-ups.
- Examples of Excellence for November were the South Adams Cross Country Team and Zach Parr. The cross country team was recognized for qualifying and running at the state meet. Members of the team that were present were (pictured left to right) Daniel Velasco, Clayton Rhoades, Briar Goodwin, Bailey McIntire, and Cole Litwiller. Parr (far right) was recognized for finishing in the top five percent of a national level in the National Merit Scholarship program. He is a senior at South Adams and is the son of Tim Parr.
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