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Advancing the discipline of risk management in public education.
In This Issue
FL Risk Managers
NC Schools WC
Federal Grants
Science Ed Safety
Hillsborough Athletes
CA "Umbrella" Cover
Training Table Update
Effective Risk Managers
Reading Lists
New PSRI Board Member
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 School Risk Groups
Florida School Boards Insurance Trust
Minnesota School Boards Insurance Trust
New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal
Schools of Ohio Risk Sharing Authority
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Insurance Trust
 School Districts

City of Atlanta, GA
City of Chicago, IL
Clark County, NV

City of Cleveland, OH 

Dekalb County, GA
Fairfax County, VA

 Francis Howell, MO
Fulton County, GA
Miami-Dade, FL
Rockdale County,GA
San Francisco USD, CA

Wake County, NC 

Other districts that are direct or associate members now number more than 1,300 .

To find out how to join, click here!

School leaders who are members can search the directory and find districts with similar risk management interests

f you are a member of PSRI,
remember to use the Institute's

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 for access to top risk management professionals. Reports are compiled, distributed and archived to save time and money.

Summer 2009                                                                       Issue 8

Risk management is... a vital business process.
School Risk Management in the Sunshine State 
Florida school risk managers created a professional development organization more than twenty years ago.   In mid June, representatives from school districts from across Florida were gathered in Sarasota for the Summer Conference of FERMA - the Florida Educational Risk Management Association.   FERMA president, Ted Pafundi, risk manager for Pinellas County Schools, called the conference to order on June 16.  At the end of the conference, he turned the gavel over to incoming president, Glen Lathers, risk manager for Hillsborough County Schools.   Pafundi commented after the conference that he felt the event was successful and the speakers were excellent.
The program included a short legislative update session, keynote address by Nick Yphantides, MD, eleven lecture sessions with an array of outstanding speakers, two networking receptions and an awards dinner. 

Nancy Haden, retired from Marion County Schools and John Radcliffe, Duvall County Schools were the first inductees into FERMA's newly created Hall of Fame.   Haden and Radcliffe were  recognized for outstanding career service and their work in founding FERMA some twenty four year ago. 
The session topics covered "what's new" in workers' compensation, ethics, employee physicals, property insurance, health care environment, employee benefit dependent audits, student accident insurance, web based employee benefit administration, employee wellness, WC Interface with GL, and crisis planning.  Twenty four companies helped support the conference as sponsors. 
To visit FERMA's website
click here

CompassCompassNorth Carolina Chooses
 Corvel to Manage School WC Claims

The state of North Carolina Dept of Public Instruction (DPI) chose Corvel to take over the claims administration for its school district workers' compensation fund, effective July 1.   The fund covers all employees of local education agencies who are classified as state employees for purposes of workers' compensation and some employees who have split classification - local and state.   School districts are responsible for coverage on all other employees. 

For FY08, the DPI reported $42.8 million in loss payments from its fund.  Ms. Eileen Townsend oversees the fund as the section chief for the DPI's insurance staff. 
On July 29,  DPI conducted a four hour session that provided an update on the fund, along with cost containment inf
ormation, for finance officers attending a workshop hosted by the North Carolina Association of School Business Officials.  The panel included two Corvel representatives and three local district risk managers, Curtis Grogan, Wake County Schools, Henry Smith, Cumberland County Schools and Ron Allen, Durham County Schools.  

$59 Million Awarded for School Safety and Health Grants

The Federal 2009 Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiatives discretionary grants were announced in early July.  Almost $33 million will be distributed among twenty-seven districts and two boards of cooperative education services.  The grants range in amounts from about $700,000 to almost $1.5 million.  The grants support comprehensive plans for curricula, programs and services that focus on creating safe school environments, healthy childhood development, violence prevention and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.  
Under the Federal Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) discretionary grant program, 108 other local districts will be sharing about $26 million in the coming year.  Grants range in amounts from about $100,000 to $600,000.  These grants provide funds for districts to improve and strengthen their emergency management plans and address all four phases of emergency management: Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Plans must include training for school staff, a plan to sustain local partnerships after the period of Federal assistance, a plan for communicating emergency management policies and reunification procedures to parents, and a written plan for improving district capacity to sustain the emergency management process through ongoing training and continual review of policies and procedures. In addition, districts must agree to support the implementation of the National Incident Management System and commit to developing plans that take into consideration special needs populations within the district. Lastly, districts must agree to develop a written food defense plan and an infectious disease plan designed to prepare the district for possible infectious disease outbreak.
Science and Safety

Nearly a decade has passed since the Glenn Commission produced Before It's Too Late, a visionary report on the state of science and mathematics education in the United States.  The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the world's largest organization of science educators, is taking action. With Senator John Glenn as Honorary Chair, a five-year, $43 million national effort is underway to make excellence in science teaching and learning a reality for all U.S. students.  
Click here to watch video

Hazards in science education are numerous.  Kenneth Roy, Ph.D, of Glastonbury Public Schools (CT) and Linda Stroud, Ph.D, recently completed an analysis of OSHA training requirements related to science education.  Dr. Roy is Director of Environmental Health & Safety for his district.  Dr. Stroud is president of Science & Safety Consulting, Raleigh NC and serves as chair of the Safety Advisory Committee of the National Science Teachers Association. Click here for OSHA analysis paper.

Dr. Stroud has also published Science Lab Safety Manual for Schools, a  408 page comprehensive resource, packed with information, risk assessment forms. 

Additional safety resources are available from the Council of State Science Supervisors.
 Click here
Hillsborough Launches Student-Athlete Accident Insurance Website
The beginning of football practice brings up questions about accident insurance, who's got it and where is the verification form.  Parents of student-athletes in Hillsborough County Schools (Tampa) can now log on to a website that allows them to enroll in the district's sponsored plan.   Coaches have access to player rosters showing which students have furnished evidence of coverage from personal insurer or the district's plan.  
SELF Most Often the Top Layer in California Coverage

For more than 20 years,  Schools Excess Liability Fund (SELF) has been providing "umbrella type" protection above primary layers of coverage for California school districts and school insurance pools members. (In California, pools are known as joint powers authorities or JPAs)  Protection is available for liability exposures and statutory workers' compensation act exposure.   SELF counts participation of 85% of the school districts in the state representing 77% of the total average daily attendance.  The organization  can provide its members with liability coverage up to $50 million and beyond through quality, Best's rated reinsurance markets.     Learn about SELF -- click here.
Earlier in July, SELF announced the results of its annual election of board members. To review the press release go to: 
Press Release
Training Table Update

The Institute is continuing to explore ways to help its members and produce reliable information needed for evaluation and implementation of effective training programs for risk control and safety.     Below are some notes on new courses, events, vendors of interest: 
  • Chuck Origer of MicroAssist/Ethics Ed is available to discuss the benefits of their online course titled "Preventing Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Schools."
  • Jeff Cassell of School Bus Training Company has been busy making presentations across the country about their new Driver Training Course.  He reported that the course has been purchased for use in more than twenty states.  The course is a recommended product of the National Association for Pupil Transportation.
  • Sandra Greene reported on the Coastal Training e-Learning Forum held at its headquarters in Virginia Beach.    A variety of presenters from several industry and professional perspectives talked about best practices and the continuing evolution of training approaches and courseware issues. 

Special Traits of Effective Risk Managers
How many of us know what it takes to be an effective risk manager?  One of the leading risk management educators described the "quintessential characteristic of an effective risk manager" in an article titled, "Risk Management Heralds a New Renaissance."  The next issue of SchoolRisk News will highlight some of the key points from this article and insights of the author, George Head, Ph.D. 
Reading Lists
What publications are  school risk managers reading?  That's the question posed to the Institute on a hot day in July by the risk manager in a fast growing district with over 100,000 students.   To find out, the Institute will begin circulating a publications list for review.  Risk managers can check the items they regularly subscribe to or write in names of publications that are not listed.    The goal is to publish the reading list report early this fall.
New PSRI Board Member Appointed
Mr. Wayne Smith has joined the eleven-member board of directors of the Public School Risk Institute for a three year term. Wayne is Assistant Executive Director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) where he directs the affairs of the PSBA Insurance Trust and also serves as Board Chairman of School Boards Insurance Company of Pennsylvania and CEO of School Claims Services, LLC. PSBA was one of the first school boards associations in the nation to provide property-casualty insurance coverage.
Over the years, the PSBA Insurance Trust provided risk management, legal liability coverage, unemployment compensation insurance and other endorsed insurance products provided by various insurers.  In 2007, PSBA experienced a new "first" when it became the first state school boards association in the US to own and operate a licensed insurance company, School Boards Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, Inc.
You can learn more about PSBA's innovation programs at PSBA Insurance Trust

We hope you find the Institute's newly updated website useful.  Please visit regularly and let us know how we can support your efforts to advance risk management.  Your input and feedback is greatly desired and appreciated.
Lee Gaby, Executive Director 
Public School Risk Institute
NEW Phone  (706) 715-3381 Ext. 701