Board to examine other school nurse options

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Current contract with health department costs $161,708

How much is a school nurse worth?
That’s a question the Marion County Board of Education will be examining in the coming year.
Currently, the district has a contract with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department for school nurse services. Board members approved this year’s contract, at a total cost of $161,708 (a $15,300 savings from last year), but they plan on reviewing other options in the coming year.
“I still wonder are we getting the value we need?” School Board Member Bernard Miles said.
School Finance Officer Lisa Caldwell said with the current state of the district going through a search for a superintendent, she felt it was best to approve the contract with the health department this year.
“The fact that the local health department kicks in 40 percent is a tremendous help as far as meeting these nursing contracts,” Caldwell said. “The total contract is actually $278,000.”
According to Caldwell, that money pays for three registered nurses and one clerk, as well as medical supplies, training, travel, etc.
“That salary is unreal,” Miles said.
However, Caldwell pointed out that the nurses aren’t getting all of that money. There are a lot of indirect costs built into the contract, she said. But, the board does plan to examine other possible options for the 2014-15 school year.
“We talk about this every year and we know this next year we really need to do a lot of homework and determine what our district needs and if we can get our costs down,” Caldwell said. “Or, is this our best value?”
Lebanon Elementary School Principal Donna Royse reminded the board members how important school nurses are to the district.
“I think you all need to understand what an important role they play at school,” she said. “The nurse at our school makes two or three trips a day to come to our school to check on students. The job that those nurses do is just so important to us.”
Miles agreed, but still expressed concerns about the cost and its financial impact on the district.
”Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling nurses whatsoever,” he said. “It’s just another case of something else being turned over to the school district to be taken care of.”

Summer feeding program underway
The Marion County School District is out for the summer, but there are still meals being served to children countywide.
According to Assistant Superintendent Taylora Schlosser, who is also the district’s food service director, approximately 14,000 meals will be served this summer at 16 different sites throughout the county. That breaks down to approximately 950 breakfasts, 8,650 lunches, 2,240 snacks and 1,475 dinners.
And while the summer feeding program is free for children, there are approximately 175 adult meals sold, as well.
The school district’s costs for the summer feeding program are approximately $30,000, with approximately $21,000 of that being reimbursed by the federal government, Schlosser said.
“This program gives children the opportunity to eat and it’s free,” she said. “And it’s for all kids.”

In other matters:
• School board members approved a 10-cent increase in paid school lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year. The new paid lunch prices will be $1.95 for elementary students, $2.05 for middle school students and $2.10 for high school students. All other meal prices stay the same.
• Schlosser and Marion County Area Technology Center Principal Brandon Bardin discussed Project Based Learning at the MCATC. Bardin plans to have a class of approximately 10 senior students working with local manufacturers. The class would be a block of two hours each day. The goal is to have industries come to the MCATC to offer work-based learning and to manufacture (prototypes) within the facility in the future.
• School board members approved a BG-1 for the West Marion Elementary School and Lebanon Middle School carpet/linoleum replacement projects in the amount of $43,490.89.
• School board members approved the following liability insurance quotes for 2013-14: Liberty Mutual Insurance - fleet, general liability, educators’ legal liability and property at a cost of $192,957 and Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance (KEMI) - workers compensation coverage at a cost of $97,668.13. The total cost will be $290,645.13, which reflects a savings of $40,251.87 from last year.
• School board members voted to renew an athletic training services agreement with Kentucky Orthopedic Rehabilitation, LLC (KORT) at a cost of $15,913.50 for the 2013-14 school year.
• School board members Miles, Pinkston, Mullins and Cecil voted to approve and assign the carry forward of any remaining Site Base Decision Making Council funds as of June 30, to be spent in fiscal year 2014. Hacker voted no.