By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – During the school day, Tupelo educators teach reading, writing, arithmetic and many other subjects.
Now they’ll have an easier time running, swimming and doing aerobics when they are not at school.
Tupelo’s school board voted on Tuesday to enter into a partnership with North Mississippi Medical Center’s Wellness Centers that will give the district’s employees free membership at all of the center’s locations.
The wellness benefit will cost the Tupelo Public School District about $60,000 a year and will include all employees who are currently covered under the district’s health plan. That includes all full-time workers and some part-time employees.
“This is a unique partnership,” said Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden. “It helps us to be an innovative leader, and it will provide our employees with benefits that are second to none.”
Participants will have access to any of the Wellness Centers, including Tupelo, Baldwyn, Eupora, Hamilton, Iuka, Pontotoc and West Point. They will only have to pay a one-time $50 assessment fee, but will not have any monthly dues.
“Our mission is to improve the health of the people in our region,” said Wellness Center Director Hank Boerner. “This is an exciting partnership.”
The benefit is designed to help the district attract and retain high-quality employees, said TPSD human resources director Jim Turner.
Turner noted that the district has saved money from fewer worker’s compensation payouts during the past five years and can use those savings to fund this program.
The board approved the benefit with a 4-0 vote. Board member Kenneth Wheeler, who works for NMMC, abstained from voting.
Riley Manning contributed to this story.