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Fort Smith School Board approves pre-K insurance program

During its regular meeting Monday evening (July 28), the Fort Smith School Board approved a contract with an insurance company to provide liability insurance for the district's pre-k programs even though the district is seeking a court ruling to determine whether the insurance is necessary for the district.

According to Fort Smith School Board member Rick Wade, an attorney with the Daily and Woods Law Firm, the issue for the district revolves around an issue of tort immunity, which makes certain governmental entities immune from negligence when it involves legal proceedings.

Even though Wade said the district falls under tort immunity, Act 778 of 2009 required the district to have a general liability insurance policy with a $1,000,000 in coverage for occurrences of negligence. The policy only applies to the district's pre-k program, Wade noted.

The total annual premium approved by the district Monday is $9,672 with a $1,000 deductible per claim.

"I recommend that we purchase this policy while continuing to seek judicial legislative relief," Superintendent Dr. Benny Gooden told the board in a memo. The vote was 7-0.
In other business, the school board:
• Approved special education contracts with a variety of companies that provide services to students with disabilities;
• Approved ethics disclosures detailing potential conflicts of interest between certain faculty and staff and the district;
• Approved election procedures for the unchallenged school board election later this year; and
• Awarded an annex renovation project valued at $269,475 to Turn Key Construction;
• Awarded a renovation project at Morrison Elementary valued at $4.487 million to The Cone Group; and
• Approved a resolution officially renaming the addition to the Northside High School Fine Arts Building the William N. Shaver III Band Center after the high school's band director from 1957 to 1975.

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