BerkleyAugust 21, 2013
Berkley School District receives Cipriano Award of Excellence
By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer
BERKLEY — The Berkley School District was awarded the Cipriano Award of Excellence earlier this month for its efforts keeping insurance claims to a minimum.
The award, given by the Metropolitan Association for Improved School Legislation Joint Risk Management Trust, recognizes the district for the highest percentage among 33 participating districts when it comes to loss ratio of premiums against contributions, claims frequency against the number of students, and meeting attendance.
MAISL is a property-liability risk-sharing pool founded in 1988 that provides insurance for 33 school districts in Michigan. The award is named in honor of Bob Cipriano, who was a MAISL chairperson before being murdered last year by his son during a break-in in Farmington Hills.
Larry Gallagher, deputy superintendent for Berkley schools, said he has worked with head custodian Rod Fisher over the past couple years to improve the district’s claim rate.
“We are proud and humbled to receive this award, and I knew Bob pretty well, so this is an honor to get this in his memory,” Gallagher said. “This award reflects what the district has done this year and it wouldn’t have been possible without my assistant, Debbie Goodcourage, and our head custodian, Rod Fisher. Together, we were able to see the loss information and make changes in our buildings.
“Really, a ton of folks really played a role in this.”
Berkley scored 93 percent across the three categories. If a claim were made due to an accident, like a slip-and-fall or a fire, the money would be paid from the trust’s fund, MAISL Executive Director Sandra Motz said.
The amount of money paid out for claims compared to the amount a district put in was one category. The number of claims submitted compared to the student body in the district, which is roughly 4,500 in Berkley, is another. Gallagher and Fisher’s meeting attendance also factored into the award.
“The award denotes what a great job Berkley has done in working through preventing loss on their property,” Motz said. “We are a pool, so the fewer dollars all of the districts pay out is money that remains in the member equity and could be distributed among members in the future. Berkley has a good loss-prevention program in their district and it helped mitigate losses over the past year.”
This is only the second time the Cipriano Award of Excellence has been handed out, with Westwood Community Schools receiving the honor last year. The numbers are accumulated over a five-year period to make up for any one-year spike that may occur in a district.
Gallagher said the hard work of the Berkley School District as a whole over the past five years has been tremendous in limiting claims, and it goes to show they care about keeping administration and students safe.
“It is the passion of Debbie and Rod, and all the others, that this isn’t just a job for them,” Gallagher said. “If we save a dollar in (insurance) premium, that is probably a dollar going to the classroom in the way of supplies. This award is a reflection of the dedication and passion and pride our staff has for their work.”
Going forward, Gallagher said the district would continue to limit the claim numbers by improving safety measures, as well as attending meetings and providing training. The more the administration learns, the more techniques they can apply to the district, he added.
“We share loss control information with other districts and they share with us, so we can always bring things back and see if they work for our buildings,” Gallagher said. “We have professional development days for the staff teaching CPR and ladder safety and lifting techniques. The main thing we need to make sure we are doing is making the buildings safe for the students and staff, and to keep doing that into the future.”
For more information on MAISL and the Cipriano Award of Excellence, visit www.maislonline.org.
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