Board calls meeting on insurance, budget

By Greg Gelpi

The Clayton County Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 6 tonight to discuss the employee dental plan and have a preliminary budget review.

The personnel committee discussed the dental and life insurance plans of school system employees last week during a committee meeting. The board approved a life insurance bid, but the committee wanted to wait on voting on the dental plan.

Members of the personnel department and a consultant hired by the school system recommended accepting a bid from current dental provider Delta Dental, but committee members, including Connie Kitchens, weren't convinced it was the best bid.

"I don't have enough information and the questions I ask you say you'll get me the information," Kitchens said in the committee meeting. "These are just poor rationales why I should put my hand up for this. I'm looking at this as what is in the best interest of employees and this is not it."

Ruth Kennedy of the personnel department and an outside consultant recommended the Delta Dental bid. They said it would be more convenient than switching over to a new dental provider, provides access to more dentists and gives the "greatest opportunity for us to save money because the likelihood of our employees being on the network."

Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware was upset with the timing, explaining she wished she had more time to review the bids.

"We're messed up if we do," Ware said. "We're messed up if we don't."

Kennedy said the board should approve a bid for a dental plan so that her department can provide information to employees and they can participate in the program during open enrollment.

At 6:30 p.m., the finance and budget committee of the board will have a meeting to make a presentation on the school system's budget.

The school system could be $4 million short of its budgeted revenue for this fiscal year and could be even worse off in fiscal year 2005. Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed cutting about $380 million in education funding.

The committee meeting is part of the board's newly adopted regular meeting schedule of its committees. The following is a schedule of the regular committee meetings:

Personnel committee - 5 p.m. on the first Monday of the month,

Legislative committee n quarterly at 6:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month,

Finance and budget committee - 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month,

Community relations committee n quarterly at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month,

Policy committee n 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month,

Curriculum and instruction committee n 6 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month and

Facilities committee n 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month.