Educational Articles

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If you have never had a reason to ponder that question, the simple answer is yes. The time and effort used to properly conduct an accident investigation can be invaluable when using the information that is gathered to defend the best interest of your organization. Remember, you only need to experience one workplace accident or safety-related incident to permanently change the life of an employee. Information gathered during an accident investigation can be used for multiple purposes; determining the validity of workers’ compensation claims; preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future; responding to legal action; and/or determining compliance with ...
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Slips, trips, and falls do happen, usually only causing embarrassment or a simple bruise. However, at times, these mishaps result in much more serious injuries or even death. Falls are among the leading causes of death in the workplace. To stay safe and protected, follow these tips: Be aware of your surroundings. Never assume a walkway is clear. Look for clutter on the floor or steps and watch for unexpected changes in floor levels such as a step up or a step-down. Also, check for holes and grates in a pathway. Maintain adequate lighting in hallways, stairways, aisles, and any other traffic areas. Make sure it is bright enough to see! Perform audits at ...
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Co-authored by Sean Lehman By this point in time, it will come as no surprise to school districts that they are the recipients of federal grant funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. As of late March 2021, school districts have received two rounds of this funding, known as ESSER I and ESSER II, respectively, and a third round of funding (ESSER III) is right on the horizon. As a result, school districts are identifying the best ways to spend these incoming funds. The authorizing federal legislation specifically permits the use of ESSER for "testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school ...
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House Bill (HB) 444 was passed by the 133 rd General Assembly in December 2020. HB 444 contains an amendment to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3.061. ORC 3.061 permits “officers, employees, or appointees” of political subdivisions to purchase an insurance policy or coverage document issued by an ORC 2744.081 insurance pool covering employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty in lieu of a surety bond. ORC 3.061 permitted this alternate form of risk transfer provided that either the surety bond or the employee dishonesty and faithful performance of duty coverage was in effect at the beginning of the individual’s term of office or employment. HB 444 amends ...
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Senate Bill 18, which has passed the Senate and been reported by the House Finance Committee, is what’s known as a conformity bill. When Congress amends federal tax laws, as it did recently with the passage of ESSR 3 (The American Recovery Program), state tax laws cannot automatically conform to the changes. Only the Ohio General Assembly can change Ohio tax laws. This is generally accomplished through a conformity bill. Senate Bill 18 makes changes to taxability of the Earned Income Tax Credit, unemployment compensation benefits, some specified deductions for small business, and extends a charitable contributions deduction for individual federal non-itemizers. ...
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Bond underwriters are like a box of chocolates (forgive me, Forrest). Unless you know what to look for, it’s difficult to know what you are going to get. And, as with chocolates, once you have selected and committed to the underwriter, the experience just might leave you, well, unsatisfied. This article illustrates some of the differences among underwriters, and may just help you pick the best one for you. Underwriting bonds is a lot like an auction. I realized this years ago while attending an estate auction with my wife. We had an interest in a beautiful 1950’s art-deco dining room set (ok, she had an interest). An important part of the auctioneer’s job was ...
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This is an article from SERS Staff. On Feb. 9 and Feb. 15, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS) sent out Special Notices to school treasurers and business officials that contain information about a recalculation of the Health Care Surcharge for FY2020. The Feb. 9 edition explains why a recalculation was necessary, and the Feb. 15 edition addresses what school employers need to do. If you did not receive these emails, you can find them on SERS’ website . Following the FY2020 Health Care Surcharge billing in August of 2020, SERS realized that contributions were $3.7 million below estimates of what should have been collected to meet SERS’ ...
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In determining whether an employer has complied with this obligation and made a reasonable determination of work-relatedness, employers should apply the following considerations: The reasonableness of the employer's investigation into work-relatedness. Employers, especially small employers, should not be expected to undertake extensive medical inquiries, given employee privacy concerns and most employers' lack of expertise in this area. It is sufficient, in most circumstances for the employer, when it learns of an employee's COVID-19 illness, (1) to ask the employee how he believes he contracted the COVID-19 illness; (2) while respecting employee privacy, ...
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Do you ever wonder how your safety process compares with best practices? You may already be familiar with these guidelines but if you are taking care of these items you will be moving in a positive direction. Visible Senior Management Leadership: Do you or other senior leadership actively support all aspects of safety and associate involvement? Associate Involvement and Recognition: Do your associates have the opportunity to share ideas or concerns? Do you recognize accomplishments? Timely reporting of incidents/accidents: Do your associates understand the process to report incidents/accidents timely? Do supervisors conduct the review process? ...
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A controlled insurance program is a single insurance plan designed to cover nearly all liability arising from a construction project. CIPs combine the coverage benefits of several key insurance policies normally used for construction projects—including general liability and excess/umbrella liability, into a single policy. Advantages of an Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) Cost OCIPs give school districts the opportunity to retain surplus and cut down on administrative costs being charged by Construction Managers (CMs). These programs also provide premium savings due to group purchasing rather than on a standalone basis. Limits of ...
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Co-Authored by Justin Cook Since early 2020, COVID-19 has been responsible for unprecedented disruptions to the American economy and substantial hardships for countless individuals. The federal government acted quickly bypassing two wide-ranging relief measures in March 2020: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). These laws include new mandated paid sick and family leave for employees, as well as the Qualified Family Leave Credit, Qualified Sick Leave Credit, and Employee Retention Tax Credits (collectively, the “Employer Tax Credits”). Unfortunately for public ...
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Co-Authored by Michelle Hillstrom Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are to a personal credit score as Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (“S&P”), and Fitch Ratings Inc. (“Fitch”) are to a school district credit rating. These institutions translate our complex life experiences into a more or less objective scale that then determines parts of our financial lives. A school district’s credit rating, similar to a personal credit score, is one of the most important determinants of borrowing costs and maybe a source of community pride. The following article describes (1) background on Moody’s major new rating methodology ...
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As a former treasurer from the good ole days of a couple of years ago, I can only imagine the headaches you are dealing with. When I read the OASBO updates I think about what is has to be like working kind of behind the scenes as a school business official. But you are doing it as always, playing a major part in keeping education working, Back in those good ole days I was fortunate to serve on the OASBO Board of Directors. At the time we looked at ways for our members to give back to their communities through OASBO. In the middle of the pandemic, it is easy for this slip behind the unknowns that are facing us each day. Unfortunately, that need to give back ...
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Co-authored by Andrew Laskey . A roof needs to be replaced. The heating or air conditioning is not working. The parking lot needs new blacktop. The football stadium field turf or stands need to be replaced or repaired. What options do Ohio school districts have to finance these relatively smaller capital improvement projects that come up from time to time in the course of running a school district? The first question may be, “What’s my legal authority to borrow to finance my project?” The next question may be, “Who will lend us the money?” In this article, we will address both questions. Ohio school districts have a very limited unvoted debt capacity. This ...
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For the last several months, employers and employees have been navigating new work environments to deal with the uncharted territory in which we now all find ourselves. This "new normal" creates challenges that many of us have not faced before, and the day-to-day processes previously in place had to be modified to allow us to continue to perform our duties. For employers who have a need to ensure their employees are provided with benefits and pertinent information, there has been a shift from large group settings to virtual meetings to provide information and answer questions on a one-on-one basis. This has created an additional strain on staff resources and ...
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Co-authored by Adam Balls. The year 2020 has been a most trying year for all aspects of our society. Education has been affected as severely as any area of the community. Unfortunately, the insurance industry has seen change as well and is causing additional financial pressure to our schools. Throughout Q3, the public entity marketplace has expressed concerns and imposed material term changes at expirations, including: Aggregation of limits across historically dedicated lines of coverage for both individual risk and pooling structures Distinct communicable disease/organic pathogen exclusions Pressure for affirmative sexual abuse language to ...
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Many of us make efforts to leverage the latest technology but keeping up does not go without its challenges. In this year of Covid-19, we have been forced to dive into aggressively utilizing technology out of necessity without “doing our homework” as thoroughly as we might have in different circumstances. School districts are motivated to move away from cash transactions for two reasons. Overall, moving to inbound electronic payment transactions in replacement of cash or high levels of accounts receivable has several benefits. Near-elimination of “opportunity” for accounts receivable embezzlement Less cash-on-hand, therefore decreasing visits to bank ...
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Workplace safety is a high priority and a concern for employers and employees alike. A workplace injury can impact a worker’s life, health, and ability to earn an income. Workers’ compensation claims also have a direct impact on an employer’s bottom line. Claims can result in higher workers’ compensation premiums, affect employee morale, and create labor shortages that make completing projects on time challenging. Despite our best efforts, accidents happen, and when they do it is critically important to manage the claim effectively from the moment it occurs. All employees should be trained and be familiar with injury protocols and procedures so when that incident ...
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Whether you're working from home, or in your office, your workstation set up can make or break how your body feels by the end of the day. Positioning yourself properly - and encouraging others in your school district to do so - can go a long way in preventing muscle strain, fatigue and more. This article describes useful tips for better ergonomics at your workstation. Monitor and keyboard should be directly in front of you. The purpose is to eliminate static twisted postures for either the employee’s neck or the torso. Performing static work, such as holding a fixed posture, causes the muscles involved to fatigue more quickly. Additionally, holding ...
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This article was provided by Brad Hunt, Chief Operating Officer, PRA Global. In the time of COVID-19, school districts everywhere are asking themselves how to ensure the health and safety of their employees and how to comply with the law. More often with the novel coronavirus, school administrators and school boards are unsure which standards are applicable to this new threat. To assist schools with making decisions about a safe reopening, the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Education issued COVID-19 Health and Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools . It provides extensive information, however, one item, in particular, requires ...