Lawrence school board hires new education leader, adopts new health insurance plan for staff

photo by: Meeting screenshot/Lawrence school board

Lawrence school board President Kelly Jones and Vice President Erica Hill are seen after the board approved hiring Kristen Ryan as the Lawrence school district's new director of elementary schools during a special board meeting on Monday, April 5, 2021.

The Lawrence school board formally hired a new elementary education leader during a special meeting on Monday.

The board unanimously approved the district selection of Kristen Ryan, who is currently the principal of Southwest Middle School, as the new director of elementary schools. She will take over the position on July 1, replacing Darcy Kraus, who is retiring.

Ryan is currently in her eighth year as the Southwest principal. She joined the school district in 2008, initially serving as a learning coach.

The board also unanimously approved adopting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas’ health insurance proposal for the 2021-2022 school year.

The district’s fringe benefits committee determined that Blue Cross Blue Shield’s proposal should be selected because it is similar to the district’s current plan, which is offered by Aetna, but includes a decrease in monthly premium costs, according to a memo in the agenda.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield plan includes a single plan premium cost of $533.36. The district’s current comparable plan from Aetna is $544.85.

Aside from the lower premium cost, Assistant Director of Human Resources Sarah Hamlin said another reason the committee supported the plan was a decrease in copay costs for mental health services. Lindsay Buck, president for the local teachers union, said she had heard positive feedback for both the lower premium cost and mental health copay cost.

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