Opinion: Our Children Will Pay for the Insurance Crisis Too

Last year, the cost of property insurance for NOLA Public Schools nearly doubled, from $7.6 million to $11.2 million for the 2022-23 school year. NOLA PS will likely not know the cost of insurance for this coming year until July. Ultimately, students may end up feeling the cost of this dramatic rise in rates as each charter school in the district pays property insurance on a per-pupil rate that is calculated by the district. 

Another increase along the lines of last year’s could impact the types of services provided to students including cuts to programming and other resources. Unfortunately legislators have failed to take any action on this issue for our schools. According to Orleans Parish School Board President Olin Parker, these costs “have the ability to blow a giant hole in our budget, ” and require a state solution.  

NOLA PS also has many unused properties and it is entirely possible students are also shouldering the cost of property insurance for these empty buildings as well. 

In my work as a small business owner whose company worked to inspect many homes and businesses after Hurricane Ida, I have seen these types of policies that do nothing but harm the people insurance should be protecting, and too often go ignored by the legislature. 

Students should not feel the rising cost of property insurance premiums. It is time to fix this issue so we do not continue to burden students and school districts. NOLA PS along with many other school districts in the state use a public risk-pool to provide insurance coverage specifically for schools. 

Given the ever increasing costs, the state should be working toward finding a long term solution immediately to rising rates for schools. Legislators should explore options like rate freezes for schools and public entities, or adding more public properties into the risk-pool to share costs. Another idea would be to work to spread the cost of these insurance rate hikes over longer time periods or advocating for an incentive fund targeted at finding cheaper policies for public entities. 

One thing is for sure, we must work together to find new solutions to the insurance crisis that protect our people, not leave our most vulnerable on the hook for poorly written policy. 

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