By ASHLEY AMASON
The Walton County School Board (WCSB) unanimously approved all consent agenda items at the July 5 meeting, including the vendor change for employee 403b plans. According to the item submitted by Human Resources Director Sonya Alford, “On June 8, 2011, notification was received that one participating provider, Waddell and Reed, has elected not to renew their participation agreement with the [Independent Benefits Council] as a Model provider. Upon notification from TSA Consulting, Inc., the insurance committee reviewed and discussed the options and unanimously…recommended the addition of TIAA-CREF, with their services being provided by Gallagher Benefits Consulting, as a provider.”
The board reduced its health insurance offerings from three plans as of last year to only two this year, resulting in a cost decrease of $440,000. Plans available are the 328 Plan at no cost to employees and the 3679 Plan, which, according to agenda information from Alford, offers “lower deductibles and increased benefits.”
Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., may attempt to enroll at least 5 percent of the district’s employees in Pre-Paid Legal/Legal Shield/Identity Theft Shield services to retain the payroll deduction slot authorized by the board.
The public hearing to discuss new rules and revisions to the board policies was open-and-shut with no public comments. The new rules regard dating violence and abuse, use of time out, seclusions and physical restraint for students with disabilities, foreign exchange students, and nursing mothers. The revisions to board policy are in reference to temporary appointment of a superintendent, student control, zero tolerance for school-related crimes, and facsimile signature.
Student handbooks for Bay Elementary School, Emerald Coast Middle School, Freeport Elementary, Middle, and High schools, Mossy Head School, Maude Saunders Elementary, Paxton High School, Seaside Neighborhood School, Van R. Butler Elementary, West DeFuniak Elementary, Walton Middle and High schools were unanimously approved.
In closing comments, board members Dennis Wallace commended schools for their excellent letter grades, and Sharon Roberts commended the Walton High School JROTC for its exemplary conduct at the July 4 parade.