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Contract awarded to replace cooler

April 01, 1999

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday awarded a $237,209 contract to a company for the replacement of a chiller and cooling tower at Williamsport High School.

General & Mechanical Services of Arnold, Md., submitted the low bid for the maintenance work, said Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee. There were eight bid proposals.

Total cost of the project was estimated at $236,000. The state's Interagency Committee on School Construction approved the project and is contributing $146,000, McGee said. The School Board has money for the difference, he said.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield to provide coverage

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland and Express Scripts will continue to provide health care coverage for Washington County Board of Education employees and retirees, the School Board decided Tuesday.

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The Blue Cross contract includes a $218,294 reduction in annual fixed costs, from $995,840 to $777,546, said Human Resources Director Phil Ray. The fixed costs are administrative and are about 10 percent of the health care plan's total expense, he said.

The board requested insurance proposals in December to duplicate its coverage, including managed care medical, prescription drug and dental benefits. The board hired a consulting firm and a committee reviewed five proposals.

Care First, Cigna Health Care, Informed and Willse & Associates Inc. as well as the winning bidders submitted proposals. The consulting firm and the committee members felt Blue Cross/Blue Shield would provide the best service, Ray said.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield will provide health and dental benefits while Express Scripts will cover prescriptions. The yearlong contracts become effective July 1.

Policy change would allow principals to accept gifts

The Washington County Board of Education held the first reading of a policy change that would allow principals to accept school gifts valued at less than $1,000.

The first reading brings the change closer to approval, which is expected after the second reading at its April 20 meeting.

Under current policy, gifts to schools valued between $500 and $1,500 cannot be accepted without the superintendent's approval. Gifts worth more than $3,000 require the board's approval.

The change would allow principals to accept gifts worth less than $1,000. Gifts worth between $1,000 and $3,000 would require the superintendent's approval. Gifts worth more than $3,000 would require the board's approval.

Board considering stricter drug policy

The Washington County Board of Education is considering a stricter alcohol, tobacco and drug policy for students, teachers and School Board employees.

The board held a first reading on the policy change and is expected to grant approval following a second reading at its April 20 meeting.

The new policy would require police to cite and possibly fine smokers who are caught for a third time. It would ban smoking for students, teachers and visitors on school grounds.

The change would allow principals to begin drug investigations based on suspicions of possession, use or distribution.

The proposal would add "look-alike" drugs to the policy, meaning students could be punished for distributing a legal substance if it were represented as a drug.

The new policy includes procedures for referring students to the Washington County Health Department's addiction unit for drug and alcohol suspensions.

Students won't attend school June 17

Students will not attend high school on Thursday, June 17, the Washington County Board of Education decided Tuesday.

As a result of the snow days used this year, there will be a four-day exam window between June 10 and 15, said Director of Secondary Education Boyd Michael III. On June 14, 15 and 16 all students K-12 will be dismissed an hour early.

Elementary and middle school students will be dismissed two hours early on June 17, but high school students will be off that day. The schedule change allows the school system to be open the 180 days required by law, said Executive Director of Support Services William McKinley.

- Bruce Hamilton

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