Increased insurance costs may force school budget cuts | NevadaAppeal.com

Increased insurance costs may force school budget cuts

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Insurance costs have skyrocketed, leaving the Carson City School District scrambling to cut $45,000 from an already tight budget.

“We’re looking at a number of options,” said fiscal director Bob Anderson. “The last thing we want to do is cut any programs, so we’ll be looking at all other alternatives.”

However, Anderson was reluctant to discuss particulars.

“I think it would premature to disclose the ‘where’ or ‘what extent,'” he said. “We should save that for the next school board meeting when the board can decide.”

The budget set aside $240,859 for insurance, but premiums will cost $285,600.

Broker Gerry Roberts explained to school board members during Tuesday’s meeting the premium would drop by $37,300 if the schools raised deductibles to $50,000. The current property damage deductible is $25,000 and liability is $2,500.

Trustee John McKenna said he was not comfortable raising the deductibles so drastically.

“Given the fact we live in a litigious world, I think we’re only prudent to stay where we’re at,” he said.

Other board members agreed and they voted to pay higher premiums in exchange for more coverage.

“We have an obligation not only to the school district but to the taxpayers of Carson City,” said trustee Norm Scoggin. “A couple of lawsuits could really affect us adversely.”

Roberts told board members the increase in costs was no reflection of the school district’s record but a nationwide trend since Sept. 11 and fewer companies are willing to insure schools.

“You are not alone,” he said. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years. This is the roughest period since 1985, 1986 and 1987. You have a superb loss record — as fine as I have seen.”

He said schools have to choose from only four viable insurance carriers in the West.

“Times are tough,” Anderson said. “We’ll try to resolve this with the least impact on the students. That’s always been our goal.”