Payment of students’ hospital bills debated by board members
Bills from more than 20 Baldwin students' recent trip to the hospital emergency room total more than $7,000, but Supt. James White doesn't think the district is responsible for the cost.
White told the Baldwin Board of Education Monday that even though the students went to the hospital with respiratory complications after pepper spray was released in the Baldwin High School in mid-November, the parents should be responsible for the expenses.
"I know it wasn't the fault of these people, and I hate they have to pay that, but I don't feel it's our responsibility either," he said. "The parents have insurance. Basically it's their responsibility to cover their children with any accidents that would come up."
But White said he didn't think those without insurance or those with a deductible should have to cover the costs.
He said the 24 hospital bills added up to about $7,300, with 14 of those costing $236 each. He said there were other expenses for some, like the ambulance fee.
Board Member Stacy Cohen said she was concerned for those who might not be able to afford the hospital bills.
"I'm concerned for those students without insurance," Cohen said. "Two hundred and thirty six to a family who can't afford insurance could be huge."
Board President Ed Schulte agreed, but said he didn't think the district should be setting a precedence by paying for the hospital costs for some or all of the students.
Cohen asked if the two students responsible for releasing the pepper spray could be required to pay the expenses.
White said he was hopeful the students would face prosecution and have to pay restitution, but that wasn't a guarantee.
He suggested having the parents submit their claims to their insurance companies, then see how much the district's supplemental insurance policy would pay of the parents' remaining expenses.
The board agreed to have the district's supplemental policy cover some of the expenses not covered by the insurance companies, then decide how to proceed on the remaining unpaid expenses.
In other business, the school board:
- Approved in a 7-0 vote to have the Kansas Association of School Boards review Baldwin's board policy, as long as the cost does not exceed $4,000.
Board Member Lonnie Broers said the policy review would be too time consuming for the board to do it section by section, and it would be beneficial to have KASB complete the review.
Cohen said she thought it was necessary because the district's board policy had never been reviewed by KASB.
"With the policy issues we've been having, it would just protect us," she said.
- Discussed snow removal options for the district. White said he had two bids to remove snow at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and in front of the Baldwin Junior High School.
He told the board another option would be purchasing a new vehicle, which the district needs, that could be used with a blade to clear district parking lots. Currently the district only has one vehicle with a blade it uses to clear snow.
The board approved in a 7-0 vote to allow Shelby Franklin of Baldwin to remove snow from BESIC and BJHS until further notice while the option of purchasing a new vehicle with a blade is researched.
- Discussed goals for the district including ways to increase student achievement and meet annual yearly progress while effectively using facilities and resources.