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District copes with insurance cost rise

Friday, January 17, 2003

LORDSTOWN -- Officials say an unforeseen change in insurance premiums could put a small dent in the school district's efforts to end the year in the black.
After buying liability, fleet and property insurance for years from Nationwide Insurance, the district is now participating in the Ohio School Plan for insurance, Treasurer Mark Ferrara informed members of the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission at Monday's meeting.
The commission oversees all financial matters while the district remains under fiscal emergency.
Ferrara said since Nationwide no longer provides insurance policies for school districts, Lordstown schools needed to find an alternative provider.
A new provider was found in the Ohio School Plan, the state's largest alternative insurance program. Created last February, the OSP provides coverage for more than 450 public schools in the state and is administered through the Columbus-based agency Harcum and Hyre.
But the problem for the local district is the rate change, Ferrara said.
"Our property rates will go from $16,000 up to about $46,000," he said. Ferrara explained that there are two factors keeping the district from feeling the full impact of the increase.
The first, he said, is the Trumbull Career and Technical Center will cover as much as one-third of the increased amount. Ferrara said TCTC's covering a portion of the property insurance was part of the deal worked out when the local district agreed to rent the space from the now defunct Gordon James Career Center to TCTC.
The second factor is the decrease in anticipated expenditures. So far this year, he said, Lordstown schools have spent $177,000 less than originally predicted.