By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Nearly 30 percent of Tupelo school district staff members have taken advantage of a plan that provides them a free membership at North Mississippi Medical Center’s Wellness Center.
The district’s school board voted in October to enter into a partnership that gives all of its employees free membership at all of the center’s locations.
Last month, 289 staff members, or 28 percent of eligible staff, participated in the program, Human Resources Director Jim Turner said in a report during Tuesday’s school board meeting. That rate has grown steadily since the program began in November when 121 staff members, or 12 percent, participated.
Those numbers rose to 134 in January, 201 in February and 267 in March.
Turner said in his presentation that the benefit is an important tool he uses when he tries to recruit teachers to the district. He said many prospective employees are surprised when they hear of it and that it also helps with retention.
Turner said he has seen fellow school district staff working out at the Wellness Center every time he has been there. He mentioned one employee has lost more than 100 pounds.
The benefit costs the district about $60,000 a year and covers all employees currently under the district’s health insurance plan. That includes all full-time workers and some part-time employees.
Participants must pay a one-time $50 assessment fee but do not have monthly dues.
The benefit is also free for family members who are on the district’s insurance plan. In April, 43 family members also participated for a total number of 332 people.