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Ohio School Plan seeks more fees

Alissa Widman Neese • Sep 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Weis addressed his concerns to board members Tuesday.

Ohio School Plan, which provided the district’s insurance until July, is demanding $7,000 by Oct. 1 for a three-year coverage guarantee, Weis said. The fee would guarantee coverage of any future lawsuits related to the district firing superintendent Fred Fox earlier this year.

But since board members fired Fox on April 2, while Ohio School Plan still covered the district, any new lawsuits would already be its legal responsibility, Weis said.    “Basically, we’d be paying them for coverage they already should be providing,” Weis said. “I’ve talked with our legal counsel, and they say (Ohio School Plan) is still responsible for any legal actions under the Fox matter. I’ve also talked with several insurance and legal experts, and half say we should pay the fee and half say we shouldn’t.”

Ultimately, board members took no action regarding the fee, meaning the district will not pay it.

If Ohio School Plan refuses to provide coverage of any future lawsuits, the district may need to take legal action against the insurance company, but Weis said that situation is unlikely.

Ohio School Plan dropped Huron Schools on July 1, shortly after board members voted 3-2 to fire Fox for alleged misdeeds. Fox appealed the termination and is suing the three board members who voted to fire him. Ohio School Plan halted its coverage because of pending lawsuits, “lack of board focus” and more.

Liberty Mutual Insurance now covers Huron Schools for $61,000 per year. Ohio School Plan’s coverage plan was $38,000 per year.

After Tuesday’s meeting, the Register requested all recent email exchanges between Weis and Ohio School Plan, which Weis said he will provide today via emai.

Download the provided PDF below

Tuesday’s developments came just a few days after the Register received a copy of a letter regarding insurance from an individual who did not provide his or her name. The district refused to release the letter this summer.

The document is a routine reservation of rights letter from Ohio School Plan, as some board members previously suggested. It identifies every legal action taken against the district, all of their possible outcomes and what portion of legal costs Ohio School Plan would cover, also highlighting some instances when coverage may not apply.

Fox-related court proceedings have already cost Huron Schools more than $140,000. The district’s budget is about $15 million annually.

In addition to discussing insurance issues, board members also approved a 100 percent, 15-year tax abatement for Angtin Inc. at Tuesday’s meeting, for the purpose of constructing a professional building in the city.

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