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Marion schools save on insurance

BY Spencer Durham - sdurham@chronicle-tribune.com

The Marion school board took care of a few housekeeping items in their first meeting of the new year, Tuesday night.

The corporation voted to renew their contract with Liberty Mutual Insurance for property/casualty and workers compensation insurance.

Bob Schultz, assistant superintendent of business affairs, said due to various factors that determine risk, Marion will actually save $42,391 this year.

Schultz also provided some more good financial news. In 2017, the school earned more $230,000 in interest due to its cash reserves. The amount earned via interest has grown steadily over the last few years and Schultz said he expects it to continue.

The corporation also dedicates more of its expenditures to students academic achievement and student instructional support than the state average. The state average for those two categories, combined, was 53.7 percent in 2015-16. Schultz said Marion had 63.8 percent of its expenditures go towards the two categories during the 2015-16 school year.

Again, there are plenty of contributing factors to this, but Schultz said it’s also a deliberate decision by district officials.

“We’ve also done it intentionally with trying to put dollars in the classroom,” he said. “We want to help our students the best we can.”

The board approved Tom Hunt as the corporation’s attorney. Hunt has served as the school’s attorney for 10 years. According to a letter provided to media members at the meeting written by Hunt addressed to Superintendent Brad Lindsay, the attorney charges $185 an hour plus any cash advanced.

Board officers were also appointed. The board voted Cathy Moritz as president, Todd Nicholson, first vice president, Aaron Vermilion, second vice president and Chuck Griffin as secretary.

The board also discussed the 2018-19 school year calendar. One of the proposed changes is shortening winter break by two days and tacking those days onto fall break. The board was divided on the issue with members Katie Morgan and Greg Kitts arguing that a longer winter break allows families to travel for the holidays, while other members, such as Cathy Moritz were in favor of a longer fall break.

The issue was only discussed and will be revisited at the next meeting on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.