Report: Four Switz Co. Schools Board Members Vote For $1 Insurance For Selves
By Mike Perleberg
(Switzerland County, Ind.) – Four members of the Switzerland County Schools Board of Trustees are coming under fire for voting themselves health insurance for just one dollar a year.
Fox 19 aired an investigative report on Sunday following a January 11 meeting earlier this month during which the school board voted 4-3 to allow board members to receive the perk. The perk is offered to the school district’s superintendent, but not to the district’s teachers.
According to the report by journalist Jody Barr, the cheap health insurance for board members has cost the district nearly a half million dollars since the practice began January 1, 2011.
The four board members who voted for and will receive the nearly free health insurance in 2016 for a less than part-time job include Wayne Daugherty, Bill Roberts, Jill Cord and Nancy Peters. All four declined to offer Barr a reason for voting themselves the generous perk.
Board member Joe Bennett, elected to the school board in 2014, was one of the three opposing votes along with Josh Deck and Kathryn Collier. Bennett reasoned that the $1-a-year health insurance costs the school district and taxpayers between $30,000 and $80,000 each year.
Fox 19 surveyed a number of other tri-state school districts about health insurance plans offered to school board members. Only the Union County–College Corner Joint School District in Liberty, Indiana pays the cost of health insurance to some board members grandfathered into the plan. The station found that the practice is illegal in Ohio.
Eagle Country 99.3 emailed each school board member and the superintendent on Thursday, asking for their reaction to the Fox 19 report and an explanation of their vote. No responses were received as of Friday morning.
Barr’s story is the latest in a line of investigative reports on dealings in southeast Indiana. His report concerning faked EMT certifications last year triggered a state investigation. Last January, he reported on failed economic development grants by the City of Lawrenceburg.