Haggling Over Insurance Reimbursement Delays Goodman Elementary - KOAM TV 7

Haggling Over Insurance Reimbursement Delays Goodman Elementary Rebuilding Effort


Rebuilding Goodman elementary could cost more than insurance will cover.

On Monday,  the Neosho Board of Education saw preliminary plans for rebuilding with estimated cost at ten million dollars or more. Its insurance carrier offered nine point one million dollars.  The district earlier this summer hired an outside adjuster to negotiate a higher reimbursement.

But the board president Steve Douglas said the delays its caused are frustrating. "Its been very frustrating to us. We had hoped to be breaking ground by now. When this happened, its been six months ago. We have kids that don't have school to go to. Fortunately, we had just built junior high, so the kids are being bussed to Neosho. Its a disservice to the Goodman community and we wanted to do better than that." Goodman kids are learning now in a wing of the Neosho middle school.
Their old school property sits idle and fenced.

The district's carrier is the Missouri United School Insurance Council or MUSIC. It is a non-profit that pools school resources to pay claims. The executive director Mark Stockwell said, "We are trying to handle it quickly. Honestly, we told them what we are prepared to give them and have already given them." The district received a check for two point nine million dollars already of nine point one million dollars the carrier offered. The district has a third party negotiator seeking more.
 Douglas explained,  "Contents is where we're really hung up right now.  Cause that helps us build the building but they
ll be expenses  putting desks back there, books,  things like that  complete the school. We dont have anything. It was a complete loss."

But Stockwell told us on the phone from St. Louis,
"The challenge is they (the district) are not wanting to replace what was there."

The district  is looking at plans for a forty-one thousand square foot building just like the one destroyed.
And one forty-five thousand square foot because DESE, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) standards call for more footage per student than classrooms had in the past.

The district could dip into reserves to pay the difference or do a lease purchase which means debt.
Douglas said, "If we use reserve money its gone. If there
s a fire in another building or a tornado or something like that,  we're handicapping  future boards who then dont have reserve money available. So, we really need to think of the most fiscally responsible decision here."
     Stockwell told us a challenge is getting the adjusters in the same room to negotiate as both are working in the gulf after disasters there.

          The district has also  applied for a FEMA grant to build a gymnasium that would double as a public tornado shelter.  
          The old school had a gym but it
s not clear if any of that cost is included in the carrier's offer.


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