CATAWISSA R.R. - Southern Columbia Area School District faces a tripling of its insurance costs for interscholastic sports because three football players who were injured last year didn't have their own health insurance.

The school board voted 7-1 Monday to name AIG as the district's interscholastic insurance provider at a annual premium of $36,991. Last year, the district paid $13,000 for the coverage.

Board directors discussed the issue for 30 minutes after business manager Michael Sokoloski told them he received other initial insurance quotes of $49,000.

"No one has seen an increase in the premium like this," Sokoloski said. "We just had a bad year."

Charlene Cove said she couldn't understand why the problem occurred since the policy only covers those participating in contact sports, such as football.

"We really need to have more injury prevention programs to prevent this," Cove said.

She also suggested the money to pay the premium, which is primarily used to cover injuries of athletes who don't have insurance, should come from the athletic budget.

"We would simply be putting the money in anyway," board president Michael Yeager said. "Gate receipts don't cover the athletic budget."

Charlie Porter cast the lone dissenting vote, pointing out the cost is about the equivalent of a starting teacher's salary.

"We should be out of the insurance business," Porter said. "This is $36,000 that we are taking out of the classroom for between one to three students who could probably get insurance on their own."

Voting for the insurance provided were board members Yeager, John Yocum, Tim Vought, Thomas Reich, Joe Klebon, Cove and Gail Zambor Schuerch. The board will look into adopting a policy next year to require students to have insurance before participating in a contact sport.

In other business:

- The board approved the second payment of $1,526,801.80 to McClure Company for the guaranteed energy savings building project. Board officials said the project is moving forward and is about 50 percent complete.

- The board, by an 8-0 vote, approved a sports medicine services agreement with Geisinger Medical Center for athletic training services from Aug. 1 to May 31 at a cost of $37,955.50, medical service agreement with Geisinger for coverage at home football games and physical examinations at a cost of $2,913, and a service provider agreement with Valley Rehabilitation for occupational and physical therapy services for a one-year contract at a rate of $65 per hour for a therapy session or $45 an hour if done by a therapy assistant.

- Resignations were accepted for middle school teacher Cheyanne Coladonato and middle school math teacher Nicholas Bender.

- The board approved the yearly lists of security personnel and athletic/activities personnel and volunteers for the 2014-15 school year.

- A contract was awarded to Koppy's Propane Inc. of Williamstown, for 155,000 gallons of liquid propane at a price of $1.625 per gallon for the coming year.