Superintendent’s contract amended |

Superintendent’s contract amended

Officials said her contract violated district's agreement with insurance provider

A provision in Superintendent Donna Howell’s employment contract with the Steamboat Springs School District was amended this week after officials discovered the contract violated the district’s agreement with its health insurance provider.

The contract Howell signed earlier this summer gave her the option to refuse district health insurance coverage and instead supplement her base income with the dollar amount the district would have spent on her monthly premiums. This year, the monthly premium for employee-only coverage is $312.

But the Board of Education didn’t realize when writing Howell’s original contract that all employees — including Howell — must be covered by the district’s health insurance plan, which is provided by The Urman Company of Denver.

“The board didn’t know that when we wrote the contract,” School Board President Paul Fisher said Sunday.

The School Board approved an amendment to Howell’s contract Monday, allowing her to continue collecting the supplemental income while also being covered by district health insurance. Under the revised contract, Howell will be able to set aside an additional $3,750 a year toward a 401(K) retirement plan.

Fisher said the board would continue to provide Howell the additional income because it feels it must honor the original intent of the contract.

“We asked (Howell) what her intentions were (when she signed the original contract), and she said her intentions were to opt out of the insurance and take it as extra incentive,” Fisher said.

Howell said contracts she has signed with previous employers allowed her the option to opt out of insurance and that the School Board felt compelled to live up to the original agreement as much as possible.

“All of the (board members) felt strongly that that was what they agreed to, and they wanted to fulfill that,” Howell said Tuesday.

The revised language in her contract allows Howell the option to refuse coverage should the district’s health insurance plan change in the future and not require all employees to be part of the benefit package.

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