meeting sheds light on VEBA benefits for SR employees
South Ripley School Corporation School Board met January 18 for
a special called meeting.
Steve Comer, president of the South Ripley Classroom Teachers
Association, was present and expressed his concerns regarding
payment of Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA)
benefit payments to those employees who hold administrative addendums.
Comer stated that it was not prudent to make these kinds of payments
when finances are tight. He also said that although administrators
are entitled to the benefit beginning in 2011, they should not
be paid back to 2008 when the VEBA account was originally established.
He questioned the eligibility of two employees that hold administrative
addendums who are not certified teachers. He made reference to
many documents including the administrative addendum, teachers
contract, the Memorandum of Understanding and the VEBA plan documents.
School attorney Merritt Alcorn stated that it was not a policy
change for administrative staff. He stated that the past practice
and intent of the school corporation regarding employees with
an administrative addendum has always been to provide the same
benefits as the bargaining unit. According to Alcorn, payment
of these VEBA monies was a correction of a mistake made in 2008
due to a misunderstanding regarding VEBA eligibility when the
benefits were first established.
Alcorn further stated the misunderstanding is the only reason
the employees with administrative addendums were not included
from the beginning. The benefit should have been established and
now the correction is being made back to 2008, when the omission
Superintendent Dr. John Mehrle stated that the issue had been
made fully transparent to the board, school attorney, and contract
negotiator. He went on to say the administrative addendums have
been distributed, discussed and reviewed with the full board,
the contract negotiator, and the school attorney several times.
The error came to light only recently during the process of changing
the teachers insurance to a new vendor.
Unanimous approval was given to accept the Security Benefit as
the VEBA provider for the certified teachers effective January
31, 2011. Unanimous approval was also given for the Variable Annuities
Life Insurance Company (VALIC) to be the VEBA provider for the
administrators and those employees with administrative addendums.
Further, Dr. Mehrle recommended and received unanimous approval
from the board to provide the VEBA benefits that were provided
to employees but not paid as far back as 2008.
In other business, unanimous approval was given to allow transportation
supervisor Dan Goris to purchase two new 78-passenger Thomas buses
that were legally bid by a cooperative agent at a cost of $83,312.00
each. One used 2010 66-passenger bus with 13,213 miles on it was
approved for purchase at a cost of $69,650.00. Goris explained
his plans for rotating buses and the cost of the new digital radios
and cameras that will be installed once the buses are received.
Board member Becky Turner questioned Goris about the warranty
on the buses, which he will confirm.