The Union R-XI Board of Education is set to pick a new insurance broker at its next meeting.

The board is scheduled to meet this Wednesday, May 15, at Union High School. There will be an executive session beginning at 5:45 p.m. and a retirement reception starting at 6:30 p.m.

The actual meeting will start at 7 p.m.

On the agenda is a deal to approve Schroepfer Insurance, Washington, as the insurance broker for the district. The district is seeking a broker to help negotiate a new insurance deal.

Because of rising insurance costs, the district recently pulled out of its group insurance and decided to see what plans it could get on the open market. The district had three brokers apply for the position.

School board members and district officials met in late April with the potential vendors at a special meeting to review qualifications. After the meeting, no decision was reached.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said after the sepcial meeting the district was still researching and double checking everything before choosing a vendor. Based on the agenda, it appears the district settled on Schroepfer Insurance. 

Weinhold said the district is being hit with more than 10 percent increases in insurance rates. With a broker, he’s hoping to avoid major cost increases.

Soil Update

Also on the agenda Wednesday is the board’s regular update on the ongoing Prop Wildcats projects.

The board met with its project manager, Navigate Building Solutions, at a special meeting Thursday, May 9. The topic for that meeting was soil.

Since ground has been broken at the site of the new school located between Prairie Dell Road and Progress Parkway near East Central College, there have been issues with the soil. Dirt was described as soft and other areas have been impacted by water runoff.

The soil issues have to be addressed before the main construction can start. The district wants a strong base now so it doesn’t run into problems in the future.

At the special meeting, Cory Bextermueller, with Navigate, explained the various treatments have gotten the soil ready on part of the site. Between the additions of rock and lime, Bextermueller said the soil is in much better shape.

So far the additional work has cost $278,110.50, he said. He told the board more treatment is needed.

Areas outside the building pad, including the proposed parking lot and future road connecting Prairie Dell to Progress Parkway, will need treatment as well.

The board pledged to allocate an additional $200,000 to address the issues. 

Bextermueller said the potential cost could drop if the impacted areas could be left alone for a while to dry out. He said he hoped to have more information on the status of the future soil work at the next board meeting. 

Other Items

The board also will vote on a budget amendment Wednesday.

As the district is making plans for the 2019-20 fiscal year budget, work is being done to wrap up the current year’s. The amendment will provide an update on where the district stands as of the May 15 meeting 

Board members also are scheduled to vote on meal prices for next year.