From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

No heavy lifting but worker comp coverage for board

Posted by: Steve Brandt under Politics and government Updated: May 16, 2014 - 1:12 PM

Rest easy, Minneapolis – your school board members now have worker comp coverage.

The board Tuesday approved covering itself with worker comp coverage, something it has lived without until now.

But its neighboring district over in St. Paul has no plans to cover its board members, a district spokesman said.  Anoka-Hennepin, the other district among the state’s big three, is still checking whether its board members are covered said its board also hasn't added such coverage.

No board member in St. Paul has ever been injured while on duty in St. Paul, spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey said.

But theoretically they could, and that might help Minneapolis board Chair Richard Mammen sleep better. He said he supports the idea, which emerged from the board’s Policy Committee chaired by Josh Reimnitz.

“It’s unlikely that accidents will take place,” Reimnitz conceded.  “We don’t do a lot of hard labor, at least by hand, and we don’t become involved in student behavior issues.”

But he said that there’s no cost to adding the board’s nine members to the district’s self-insured pool of 5,770 workers.  State law long has allowed elected officials to be covered by the worker comp of their government units.

The technical explanation from chief district lawyer Steve Liss is that the change will shift board members from a liability insurance situation if injured on the job to a no-fault situation with worker comp.  Worker comp covers a worker on the job as long as there’s no misconduct involved in the injury.  But proving a liability claim requires a showing of negligence.

Worker comp coverage typically covers medical costs, continuing income-replacement payments, and compensation for the impairment to whatever body part was involved, Liss said.    

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