NA liability costs to rise 17%

    Liability insurance premiums paid by North Adams Community Schools will increase by some 17 percent this year, school district business manager Larry Carty told members of the school board on Tuesday.
    The district will pay $115,201 for liability coverage for the coming school year, a hefty increase caused in part by an above-normal number of workman's compensation claims in recent years. Carty said the claims have stemmed from a number of "isolated, random and minor" injuries suffered by school district employees as the result of falls and other mishaps. Carty said there have been no workplace safety issues identified.
    He said quotes were solicited from four insurance providers, with Indiana Insurance — the district's current insurance provider — submitting the lowest proposal. The board voted 5-0 to accept the Indiana Insurance quote.
    In a separate presentation to the board, Carty said preparation of the district's 2012 operating budget is running "a little behind schedule," thanks in part to a delay by the state education department is issuing the necessary budget forms and paperwork. Carty said another issue that has hamstrung local officials is a dispute between the education department and the Department of Local Government Finance over limits on bus replacement funding for the coming year.
    Carty said a first look at North Adams' 2012 budget — which will feature a reduction of approximately $1.5 million from last year's spending blueprint — should be available at the board's August meeting.
    In his report on buildings and grounds, Carty said work on a traffic reconfiguration layout at Northwest Elementary school "is essentially complete," with an improved flow of student pick-up traffic anticipated.
    Carty also said structure restoration work at Bellmont Middle School "is ahead of schedule" and will be completed well before the start of classes this fall.
    The purchase of new equipment used by the high school swim team has also been approved, said Carty, and a fundraising drive is under way to purchase a new scoreboard for the swim team. Among the recent purchases were new starting blocks, storage reels and touch pads.
    Four exterior camera monitors have been installed at the middle school, and the painting of hallways and stairwells at BMS is also nearly complete, Carty said.
    In other business during Tuesday's meeting, board members:
    • Learned from Superintendent Wylie Sirk that free breakfasts will be offered to all students at Southeast and Northwest elementary schools this year.
    • Adopted a mission statement, vision statement and a set of "core values and beliefs."
    • Approved an English/language arts change of course name from Student Publication 1086 to Technical Communications 1096.