COVENTRY TWP.  Coventry Local Schools may make a change when it comes to insurance.

During the Oct. 16 meeting, the Board of Education heard presentations from two insurance consultants, Zaluski Insurance and NFP: Insurance Brokerage and Consulting.

The district has been a part of the Stark County Council of Governments (COG) since 2012. The health care cost without premium holidays for the year is approximately $3,354,818. With the holidays, the cost is $2,795,682.

Zaluski Insurance provided the district with a yearly quote cost of $3,146,220. This quote is based on a self-insured approach vs a fully-funded model. The fully-funded quote from Zaluski is a similar cost to the COG’s cost without holidays.

Michael Zaluski said if the district were self-funded, it could have full control of multiple plans. He said the district needs to reduce its cost, not increase it. Zaluski said he represents Niles City Schools, which also is in fiscal emergency. 

If the district were to move to being fully-funded using Zaluski Insurance, the district would not be eligible for holidays.

Dave Lewis, who is the Vice President at NFP, said his company represents 47 public schools in four different consortiums. He said he has experience working with schools, adding that all four consortiums are run differently.

Lewis said most school districts are in a consortium and said the reason some aren’t is because they are too large.

He recommended the best fit for the district is the Portage Area School Consortium, which was quoted at $3,351,376. This is a consortium model, similar to COG, but it does not offer holidays.

All the costs presented only include the main medical coverage as dental and vision coverage is an optional add-on for the district's staff.

Lewis said the district cannot adjust its plan being in COG. The district also has paid into the COG's reserve, which could be holding $1.3 million or more of money, which the district would receive some of it back if it was to leave.

The biggest challenge recently for Coventry Schools' being in COG is that it cannot factor in the premium holidays into the five-year-forecast.

Superintendent Lisa Blough said since the district is in fiscal emergency, it is required to build in a 10 percent increase each year for COG into the five-year-forecast. She said the trend data doesn’t support the 10 percent increase, which has been about 4 percent.

Blough said the district's five-year-forecast is very strong, but not being able to use actual data creates the issue keeping the district in fiscal emergency. One of the requirements of getting out of fiscal emergency is showing a positive five-year-forecast.

Board President Chris Davis said the district needs to make a decision quickly as the district must have its five-year-forecast to the state commission by Nov. 21.

Davis said he believes going self-funded isn’t really an option for the district, but board member Josh Hostetler said he is open to exploring all options.

Board member Ron Reed said he doesn’t believe the district should spend more money just to get out of fiscal emergency.

Davis said he believes if the district remains in COG, it will be in fiscal emergency forever.

In other business Oct. 16, the board:

- Approved a two-year contract with Ohio Schools Council for electricity rates.

- Approved the middle school trip to Columbus, Dayton and Kings Island on May 27 and 28. The trip is fully parent funded.

- Approved the softball trip to Tennessee April 9 through 13. This trip is fully parent funded.

- Heard from Trustee Robert Saffian about his hope to bridge the gap between the township and the schools. Blough said working with Saffian has been terrific and said that he really has stepped up to help. Saffian said he hopes to have a closer relationship between the township and the schools moving forward.

- Heard from Davis that Nov. 5 is Election Day and the district has a 1 percent earned income tax issue on the ballot. He is hopeful it will pass as the district hasn’t had any new money since 2010. Davis also said there was misinformation about open enrollment numbers as there are about 560 open enrolled students. He said the district also moved up on the state report card as the district is a C district.

- Entered executive session for several matters with no action taken.

The next Coventry Local Schools board meeting will be 6 p.m. Nov. 20 at Coventry Elementary School.