(Lander) –After reviewing the six bids received for providing medical insurance for employees for Fremont County School District 1, the Board of Trustees accepted the proposal submitted by the Wyoming Educators Benefits Trust (WEBT). The District’s current provider, Wyoming School Boards Association Insurance Trust (WSBAIT), submitted a proposal that was 17% higher than its current rate; WEBT’s proposal was 2% less than what the District is currently paying. However, the District must pay “run out” costs associated with leaving WSBAIT; the net of these costs is anticipated to be around $350,000. Even with the run-out costs, WEBT’s proposal was still less than the other insurance providers’ bids. WEBT uses a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan and contracts with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wyoming to administer its program. Bob Decker, the consultant whom the District used to assist with the bid process and analysis, reported to the Board that the amount that employees have paid toward deductibles under the current provider will be credited with the new plan; thus, employees will not have to start anew reaching their deductibles. Superintendent of Schools, Mike Bowman, told the Board, “We received a very good bid from WEBT, and I believe that our employees will like the new plan.” The new plan will go into effect July 1.
During the February school board meeting, Board members expressed some concerns about the design of the bandshell that was proposed for the park immediately east of Lander Valley High School. Since that meeting, the proponents of the bandshell, Scott Harnsberger and Jim Massman, addressed the concerns and held meetings with Lander Police Department personnel and school district personnel to discuss their proposed solutions to the concerns. As a result of their efforts, Superintendent Bowman recommended to the Board that the bandshell design be approved with some stipulations, such as security cameras and motion-sensor lights, which will enhance the security of the facility and the high school campus. The Board approved the design with the stipulations and commended the proponents for their efforts to bring the project to fruition. The concrete stage will be laid this summer, and the bandshell construction will occur after sufficient funds have been raised, which will most likely be in three or four years.
Lander Valley High School received notice recently that a woman by the name of Norma E. Wolf died last fall in California, and she bequeathed $25,000 to the school. Superintendent Bowman said that he had contacted the attorney for Ms. Wolf’s estate to try to learn something about Ms. Wolf; however, the attorney knew nothing about Ms. Wolf other than that she graduated from Fremont County Vocational High School (the former name of Lander Valley High School) and she had fond memories of the school. The attorney said that if she learns more about Ms. Wolf, she will inform the school district. The Board accepted the bequest. Lander Valley High School plans to use most of the money for scholarships. If anyone knows anything about Norma E. Wolf, s/he is encouraged to contact Lander Valley High School or the Superintendent’s Office.
The Board heard a report of anticipated staffing needs for next school year. The enrollment will increase at Gannett Peak, necessitating hiring another second grade teacher to maintain the 16:1 student/teacher ratio required by statute. It is anticipated that the Baldwin Creek enrollment will be similar to this year; thus, there will be no change in staffing. It appears that there will be a minimum of 127 kindergarten students at North next year; however, it is unknown how many kindergarten students may enroll prior to the beginning of school in August. It was reported that there will be one more first grade section at North next year, and the number of kindergarten sections will be determined when the enrollment picture clears up. The level of staffing at Lander Valley High School and Pathfinder High School will remain the same as it is currently. The Board approved the hiring of one additional special education teacher at Gannett Peak and one at Lander Middle School to provide services for students with emotional disabilities. The Board also approved the hiring of a special education case manager from Title VIB funds for Lander Middle School.
Other action in the meeting included:
- Set the date for the annual Staff Awards Dinner for May 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the Lander Community Center.
- Heard on first reading policies on Board Hearings/Appeals, Technology, Graduation, Sex Offenders on School Property, and Professional Staff Contracts and Compensation Plans.
- Approved the Lander Valley High School choir’s request to go to Ireland in April 2013.
- Heard a report from Lander Middle School teachers about how they are using the new facility and how well the schedule is being used to meet student needs.
- Recognized Joe Crane and Nick Nerli for their compassion in helping a special needs student each day (see photo).