Posted Date: 09/13/2023
Board Members Accept Reports on State College Remediation
The Board of Education accepted remediation reports from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
The reports for the year 2020 looked at the number of graduates statewide, how many high school graduates went directly to college the next year, how many went to college the following year and the number of high school graduates who entered college anytime in 2019-2020, including students who delayed entry to college by a year or more, according to Dr. Kenneth Moore, executive director for Secondary Education.
For 2020, the Oklahoma State Department of Education reported 43,900 students graduated from Oklahoma public high schools. Of those, 16,800 or 38.3 percent entered an Oklahoma college or university the following fall. An additional 1.1 percent of the high school graduates entered in the spring.
By comparison, college-going rates of Union High School students were better than the state average, with 50 percent attending college in 2021-22.
Remediation rates have improved significantly for Union graduates since the pandemic. In 2021, 34.6 percent of Union students had to take remediation courses for entry into college. In 2022, only 23.9 percent needed remediation, an improvement of 10.7 percent. Reading remediation rates at Union dropped 8 percent and Math dropped 11 percent.
Union’s Net Assessed Valuation Exceeds $1 Billion
For the first time in Union’s history, the Net Assessed Valuations (NAV) of all Union property came in at over $1 billion -- $1,034,711,111, to be exact – an increase of $78.07 million or 8.16 percent. Tulsa County recently certified the valuation for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
“We have not seen that rate of growth in many, many years,” said Chief Financial Officer Trish Williams. “What this does mean, though, is that our sinking fund millage dipped a little bit from last year. The silver lining is, this gives us the opportunity to reexamine our 2023 bond, as this presents a great opportunity for our district.”
Williams credits the development of the new Scheels sporting goods store at Woodland Hills Mall, as well as other commercial and residential growth in the district. The Fargo, North Dakota-based sporting goods retailer is in the process of transforming the space formerly inhabited by Sears at the west end of the mall. The new addition is valued at $132 million.
In related action, the Board approved the district’s “Estimate of Needs” as well as the general, building and Child Nutrition fund operational budgets for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The budget reflects an increase of $4,719,531 from what was originally appropriated to $158,885,633.
Union Renews Agreement with CareATC for Employee Clinic Services
The Board of Education renewed an agreement between Union and CareATC to provide clinic services to employees for the 2024 calendar year for $77,063 per month, which includes all medical supplies and medications dispensed at the clinics.
“This (amount) is a 4 percent increase in the rates,” said Jay Loegering, executive director of Human Resources.
Employees and their dependents who are on the PPO plan can visit any of the CareATC clinics nationwide. The copay to visit the CareATC clinics will be changed to a $0 copay and will be able to continue to receive no-cost generic prescription medication. By contracting directly with the clinic, employees receive care at a greatly reduced cost, not only saving the employee out-of-pocket costs, but also resulting in savings to the Union’s self-insured plan.
Board Approves Agreement with UMR to Administer Third Party Health Plan
The Board approved an administrative services agreement with United Health Care (UMR) for the district’s self-insured PPO medical indemnity plans for the district, representing a 2 percent increase for employees.
Union's self-insured plans continue to be competitive with the state's Health Choice High medical plan, while benefits for Union's self-insured PPO plan remain richer, and co-pays and deductibles remain lower in many areas, Loegering said. For comparison, Union employees covering their family on the base medical plan pay $7,526 less annually in premiums than other districts in Oklahoma. Coverage for employee and children is $3,105 less annually and employee and spouse coverage is $2,428 less annually.
In a related matter, Board members approved an insurance management agreement with Rooney Insurance Agency for employee benefit consulting services for the 2024 calendar year for $198,500, with no increase in cost to Union.
Loegering said Rooney’s broad knowledge of the benefits market, in general, and their specific knowledge of self-insured health plans, EGID, stop loss coverage issues, and other critical components of the District's benefit offerings, as well as their strong negotiations and advocacy, have all been instrumental factors in the management of the District's self-insured plan and in decisions regarding other District-offered benefit products.
Additionally, on behalf of the district, Rooney has undertaken other concerted efforts to decrease the costs of Union's self-insured plans, while adding superior options and cost savings for plan participants, Loegering said. Rooney has undertaken a concerted effort to assist Medicare-eligible retirees in moving off the Union PPO to not only reduce the risk of high claims to these plans, but also to reduce the premium outlay for retirees, while helping these retirees find the supplemental plan that best suits their needs.
Retirees can contact Rooney staff to guide them through the highly complex Medicare/Medicaid rules, with the assurance that they will receive advice from a Medicare-certified consultant, he said. Rooney has also negotiated direct contracts with Envision Imaging, Oklahoma Heart Hospital, and Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute for significant savings to our self-insured plan, while also reducing the cost for participants.