PACE trustees fund new grant to reduce saw injuries

PACE trustees voted unanimously Feb. 29 to fund a new $100,000 grant program designed to prevent serious student injuries. The program will enable schools to replace old saws with a new piece of equipment, called a SawStop.

Since 1986, PACE has recorded 43 school injuries caused by table saws. Director of Risk Management Scott Neufeld said many of the safety features included in SawStop saws can prevent such user injuries.

The grant money will come from funding previously used for the SafeAlert Tip Line, which is being replaced this year with a tip line funded by the state. Grants will be available to districts on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning July 1.

Saws bought with the grant money will be restricted to use by vocational shop classes or drama departments. To gain the new saw, the school will be required to dispose of any outdated equipment.

“This is not just important work,” said PACE Trustee Chairman Phil Wentz. “This is the most important work – keeping our kids safe. I’m so pleased we can do this.”
Trustees also approved plans for a new employment liability toolkit and checklist that will give PACE members a 5 percent discount on their general liability premiums in the 2017-18 policy cycle. The comprehensive, step-by-step guide for school districts and community colleges is expected to come out in late summer.

Kevin Pardy, Special Districts Association of Oregon underwriter, told trustees about PACE liability and property coverage renewal plans for 2017. PACE staff and coverage attorneys are currently identifying the key issues to address in the update. Over the next nine months, staff will write and refine the coverage document, with the goal of putting it into effect July 1, 2017. While coverage amounts are still being defined, some potential coverage additions would include drones, copyright infringement, underground pipes, acts of terrorism and earthquake and flood endorsements.

Trustees also approved a change in bylaws that will allow trustees to serve three consecutive three-year terms by board appointment. They also appointed Adam Stewart, Mike Schofield and Brett Yancey to the PACE Trustee Recruitment Committee. Debbie Laszlo, Sharla Andresen and Marie Knight were appointed to the PACE Budget Committee.