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School retirees disagree with insurance change

    HAMMONDSPORT—The Hammondsport school board heard from some 12 former and active teachers about retired staff being told they have to switch benefit plans, Wednesday, Aug. 15.
    The district offers three different plans to employees. Superintendent Kyle Bower explained the only difference between them is the level of prescription co-pay provided. He said a new contract with the active teachers was settled on July 1, 2012, and the district is trying to bring the retired staff’s plans “in line with the current plan.” He explained their question is if the district can tell the retirees to switch to the different program. Bower added the consortium may not offer the retiree’s plan forever.
    People in the audience also asked the board for a guarantee that if they switched to the other plan they would not have to change benefits again in the future. Board member Christine Kolo said there isn’t a guarantee. Bower added the district is reviewing the information and has not established the last day to switch plans.
    In other business:
    • A hearing was held for the district’s handbook, or SAVE plan. Bower explained the document was split into two plans. The one on the school’s website has the public information. Bower added the second plan covers evacuation procedures and threat reactions that will be kept confidential except to district staff.
    • Bower asked the school board if they had any preference in a broker to try and sell the former Curtiss school again. The board members pointed out Realty USA has a local office, which was a point in favor of using that broker. Bower added that to save on insuring a vacant building, the Curtiss school will continue to be used in some way until a sale is finalized. He said it will be used for sports practice this fall. Bower explained the district is required to pay extra insurance on the Curtiss building if it is declared vacant. He added the lowest estimates for insurance were $30,000 to $40,000 a year. However, if the building is used, Bower said it automatically falls under the district’s existing umbrella coverage.
    • Board President James Zimar said Watkins Glen school board President Brian O’Donnell is looking to form a council of the board presidents of the 21 greater Southern Tier districts. Bower said he thinks the intent is to provide a unified voice to lawmakers about issues the schools are facing. Zimar said he will participate.




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