By R. Scott Belzer
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In compliance with the Affordable Care Act, East Bernstadt Independent School District will be forced to offer health insurance to anyone averaging more than 30 hours a week - even if they aren’t full-time workers.
The item was a topic for discussion during the board’s meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. The act mandates that East Bernstadt measure all of its employees’ hours from Oct. 3, 2013 to Oct. 2, 2014. This includes everyone, from Superintendent Vicki Jones to a substitute teacher or coach.
However, this isn’t a glaring issue at the moment, as the majority of East Bernstadt’s employees are either full-time or don’t qualify.
“The board can make it a policy that substitutes never get more than a certain amount of days per year and therefore never qualify,” said Amy Brown, financial director. “We don’t have very many substitutes to choose from and that would limit us.”
Having a long-term substitute, compared to a series of short-term subs, helps maintain the educational process. They come in handy when teachers are forced to take medical or maternity leave for six months to a year.
In the same vein, coaches more often than not have separate jobs or are already full-time employees within the school.
At this time, the board is not going to place any restrictions for part-time and temporary employees.
Any employees that qualifies will have open enrollment from Oct. 3 to Dec. 31, 2014. Health insurance will go into effect in January 2015.
Other points of interest included:
• The interior of the new administration building is set for completion mid-January. The new gymnasium will begin construction immediately thereafter.
• East Bernstadt will not be attending the National School Board Association’s 73rd Annual Conference. The board agreed to forgo membership in the NSBA in an effort to save $1,700 in annual dues and additional costs of attending the conference.
• East Bernstadt is making progress toward its goal of putting four to five computers in every classroom in addition to the 40 already in the school’s computer lab. E.B. schools recently received a donation of 100 computers. However, each computer needed a monitor.
The district is halfway to their goal. A Walmart grant purchased 25 monitors, 10 were donated and 15 more were purchased. Local businesses such as ACS and Little Caesar’s have been donating monitors to the school. The PTO also gave a donation for monitors.
• In September, East Bernstadt purchased new math and reading textbooks thanks to a $46,000 private grant from Steele-Reese and an equal contribution from the district. All students from kindergarten to 8th grade received books.
• The district received a matching grant for technology in the amount of $4,374 from the School Facilities Construction Commission.
• East Bernstadt’s Audit Report was fairly presented by Cloyd & Associates. Auditor Madgel Miller described the school as “growing in a market where others are shrinking.” The audit ending June 30, 2013 showed the district in a net position (assets less liability) in government and business funds of $2,246,441.
“This is a positive number, which is a good thing,” Miller said. “You are growing each year. Although not a lot, you are growing. East Bernstadt is holding its own.”
Cloyd & Associates audits six independent school districts, and many are struggling.
“East Bernstadt is looking very good. It’s a reflection of your board, your area, and the confidence they have in your school system,” Miller added.
• The board will continue to support its resolution for additional funding from the state and has been encouraged by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday to speak to legislators about increasing SEEK funding to 2009 levels prior to the start of the January session.
“We’ve been asked to do more with less and less,” said Superintendent Vicki Jones. “I don’t think there was a district in the state who didn’t raise taxes so the local communities have done their part. It’s their turn.”