Niles schools’ financial commission tables insurance contracts

NILES — The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission tabled three contracts associated with health insurance for faculty and staff of the Niles City School District during a special meeting Thursday.

Bob Foss, chairman of the commission, said the insurance contracts — Aetna health, Aetna dental and EyeMed vision — were tabled because the commission wanted to determine if they could be approved separately from negotiated agreements with the teachers and classified unions.

“We needed to determine if the insurance contracts are dependent on the negotiated agreements,” Foss said.

The insurance policies were approved in a special meeting April 10 by the Niles City School District Board of Education. Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen said she hoped to give the commission more time to review the new health care plan.

The district’s current health benefit plan, through Anthem, expires April 30.

The financial commission is expected to schedule another special meeting before the end of the month to further review the health care plans.

Treasurer Lori Hudzik predicted earlier this month switching health care carriers will save the district between $500,000 and $1 million because of the availability of new tiered plans and a high-deductible plan.

At Thursday’s meeting, the commission also approved the current five-year forecast for the district and listened to a presentation by Nita Hendryx and Trish Turner of the State Auditor’s office on the projected outcome of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The district shows a small positive balance, said Foss, which is an improvement from the forecast approved in January that showed a large deficit.

“There are still deficits on the horizon, so I’m not jumping up and down yet,” Foss said.

The next regularly scheduled financial commission meeting is set 5 p.m. May 6 at the district’s administration building.