HCISD, Valley Baptist Health & Fitness partner to benefit school employees


Getting to the gym just got easier after Harlingen’s two largest employers came together to provide $9.99 per month gym memberships to all Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District employees.

Earlier this month, HCISD and Valley Baptist Health & Fitness Center entered into an exclusive partnership through August 2014 to provide all HCISD employees, approximately 2,700 full time staff, and their families with a discounted fitness club membership through payroll deduction.

Through the agreement approved by the Board of Trustees during the October 8 regular meeting, VBHF will provide all HCISD employees and their immediate family members, those who qualify as dependents for employee health insurance, for a month-to-month gym membership for $19.99.

HCISD will contribute $10 for all employees opting into the program, paying the reimbursement directly to VBHF on a month-to-month basis, resulting in a total cost of $9.99 to the employee. HCISD is able to pay the contribution through a reimbursement of about $187,000 that it received in August from its health insurance provider, Valley Baptist Health Plans.

“Employing highly effective teachers, principals and staff is a district goal, and we believe effectiveness is directly correlated to the health and wellness of our staff,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Arturo J. Cavazos. “We are grateful to Valley Baptist for this outstanding opportunity to support our staff and their families. We look forward to growing this partnership and providing more resources for our team of educators so they can in turn provide high quality instruction in our classrooms.”

[acc_item title=”Important Links”]Campus Fitness Enrollment Schedule
Payroll Deduction Form
Reimbursement Form[/acc_item]
[acc_item title=”Campus Aerobic Schedule”]Stuart Place Elementary Gym
Mondays & Wednesdays
4:30 to 5:30 pm

Harlingen High School
Mondays & Wednesdays
4:30 to 5:30 pm

Travis Elementary
Tuesdays & Thursdays
4:30 to 5:30 pm

HCISD employees currently under contract at other fitness facilities will also be able to receive the $10 per month contribution from the district by submitting receipts or invoices from their gym membership each month. Those gym memberships will not be payable through payroll deductions; however, the reimbursement will be paid through a reimbursement check. Finalized procedures for this process will be sent to all employees when they become available.

“The campuses have been working together to promote wellness across our district this year through campus wellness plans, district wide events and an aligned physical education curriculum,” said HCISD Wellness Coordinator Luis Solorio. “This is another tool we can use to promote healthy lifestyle choices from our employees, allowing our staff to be trend setters for wellness for the entire Harlingen community.”

HCISD employees will get access to the facility in the Treasure Hills neighborhood just as normal members do. In addition, VBHF will provide aerobic exercise classes every week at three HCISD schools to employees who are members of the gym. The schools are Stuart Place and Travis elementary schools as well as Harlingen High School. Times and class offerings are still awaiting final approval.

“Our mission as a fitness program is to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Veronica Garza, the operations manager for the Valley Baptist Health and Fitness Center. “My goal is to inspire someone to live healthier and we believe that starts with a regular fitness routine.”

Valley Baptist Health Systems recently contracted Power Wellness of Chicago to oversee operations at the facility, 3001 N Augusta National Dr., Harlingen. The facility and equipment is owned by VBHS.

VBHF will begin registering HCISD employees on Monday, October 21 by visiting each campus. HCISD employees will also be able to sign up for the gym memberships at the Treasure Hills facility starting Monday. To sign up at the gym, employees need to bring their driver’s license and employee identification card. A schedule of those campus visits will be sent to all employees once the calendar is finalized.

HCISD requested proposals from local fitness centers in September, receiving six proposals for discounted rates for HCISD employees in exchange for making the program payable through a payroll deduction. HCISD’s business office, wellness coordinator, and marketing coordinator worked in selecting finalists from the list of seven proposals based on the total price to employees, the size of the gym, the services provided by the gyms and the reputation of the facilities within the community. The finalists were presented to the HCISD Employee Benefits committee during a special meeting prior to the board vote on October 8.

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