Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 22, 2013

Panel adds procedures to policies

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — The policy committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education has recommended changes to policies that include important procedural requirements for school support organizations and use of sick leave by personnel.

The committee added, "No payment to any employee for services performed on behalf of the school system shall be made from any source other than the board. Wages may be paid from revenue derived from sources other than taxes, provided the revenue is deposited and salaries are paid through the board. This includes booster clubs, donations or contributions from individual, civic or non-school related sources of funds from individual school activities, such as gate receipts and concessions" to policy 2.404, school support organizations.

Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle said this was a part of the administrative procedures and booster clubs and other support organizations are made aware of the procedure, but it sometimes is not followed. She recommended placing the procedure in the policy so that it was easily found by those involved in school support organizations.

Policy 5.304, long term leave, had restrictions recommended that are similar to those required for employees taking a leave of absence through the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The restrictions state the director may require a request for leave be supported by certification issued by a health care provider that includes the date on which the serious health condition commenced; probable duration of the condition; appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition; and a statement that the eligible employee is needed to care for the son, daughter, spouse or parent, and an estimate of the amount of time that such employee is needed. The director may require, at school system expense, the opinion of a second health care provider.

Policy 4.207, limited English proficient/language minority students, was amended to state the administration develop and implement language instruction programs that "Appropriately identify students with limited English proficiency after administering and scoring the TELPA screener assessment."

This is already the process used to identify students with limited English proficiency and to determine proper placement. The TELPA is the assessment instrument recommended by the Tennessee Department of Education.

The committee also recommended rescinding policy 5.9, professional personnel negotiations-legal status; policy 5.901, scope of professional negotiations; and 5.902, board negotiating agent due to changes in state law requiring collaborative conferencing, replacing professional negotiations.

An ethics policy for teachers was recommended. The policy is based on the Tennessee Education Association Code of Ethics of the Education Profession, and is part of Tennessee law. The committee elected to remove the reference to TEA, keeping the reference to Tennessee statute, as there are educators who are part of another state-wide education advocacy organization.

A portion of a policy dealing with interim employees was deleted, removing "The contract of each temporary employee shall contain the following statement: I understand that in filling a temporary position, I have no expectancy of continued employment but shall be considered for initial employment to fill other vacancies."

VanWinkle explained there was no contract with interim employees, and that a form was created that took care of this requirement. Also, all temporary or interim positions are listed as such when they are posted.

The recommended changes will go to the Cumberland County Board of Education for consideration. Policy changes require two successful readings by the full board.