Personnel

9000 Personnel Goals

The Board of Education recognizes that the school district’s central goal – the education of children – is wholly dependent on the dedication and work provided by the school district’s employees.  The Board seeks to develop and implement personnel policies that will allow and enhance the ability of staff to educate children.

The specific goals that will guide the Board as it develops personnel policies are:

  1. To hire and retain the best and most qualified staff available
  2. To ensure staff are evaluated in a rigorous and meaningful manner
  3. To grant tenure to staff who have performed at the highest level and
  4. To provide professional development and training to staff to improve their skills.

Although the Board is the employer of all staff in the district, the Board recognizes that the Taylor Law requires the district to negotiate in good faith with recognized or certified employee organizations over wages, hours, and all other terms and conditions of employment as defined by the Taylor Law or as interpreted by the Public Employment Relations Board.  The school district will fully comply with the requirements of the Taylor Law.

All other employees in the district who are not represented by a recognized or certified employee organization will receive fair compensation and benefits for the work they provide.

In return for the compensation and benefits provided to district staff, the Board expects employees to render the quality of service that enables children to learn at the highest level possible and seek continuous improvement in the service they provide.

Ref:     Education Law §§ 1604(8), 1709(16), 2503(3), 2554(2), 3012(1)(a) (Board’s authority to hire employees)

Education Law § 3012(2) (Board’s authority to grant tenure to teachers)

Civil Service Law § 204 (“Taylor Law” requires school district to negotiate with unions)

8 NYCRR § 100.2(o)(2) (school district required to evaluate teachers)

8 NYCRR § 100.2(dd)(2)(ii)(a) (school district required to provide professional     development)

Cross-ref: Equal Opportunity

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9120.1 CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The Board of Education is committed to avoiding any situation in which the existence of simultaneous, conflicting interests in any officer or employee may call into question the integrity of the management or operation of the school district.  Therefore:

No person employed by the district shall hire, supervise, evaluate, promote, review or discipline any other employee who is a member of the same family.  In the event that marriage, promotion, or reorganization results in a situation not in compliance with this policy, reassignment or transfer will be effected, in accordance with the applicable provisions of any collective bargaining agreement, to correct the situation.

No person employed by the district shall negotiate or execute any contract on behalf of the district for the purchase, sale or lease of real or personal property, services of any nature, nor for insurance without first having determined the common price for such property, services or insurance, or requesting bids from all potential providers of such property, services or insurance.

No person employed by the district shall allow any matter, concern or interest, personal, financial or otherwise, to influence or interfere with the performance of his or her duties.  Should such a matter, concern or interest arise, the employee shall bring the matter to the attention of his or her supervisor or the Board to seek ways to reduce or eliminate the influence or interference.

The Board affirms its commitment to adhere scrupulously to all applicable provisions of law regarding material conflicts of interest.

Knowing or willful violation of this policy by any employee may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Any officer, employee or member of the public noting or suspecting a violation of this policy is encouraged to bring the matter, either in confidence or in public, to the Board or the Superintendent of Schools.

Cross-ref: School District Officer and Employee Code of Ethics

Ref:     Education Law §§ 410, 3016

General Municipal Law Art. 18, §§ 801-813

Labor Law §201-d

Dykeman v. Symonds, 54 AD2d 159 (4th Dep’t 1976)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9140.1 STAFF COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES

Grievance procedures are designed to resolve conflicts that may arise among various members of the staff.  These procedures are defined in collective bargaining agreements.  Staff members have the right to present complaints and grievances in accordance with the established procedures free from coercion, interference, restraint, discrimination or reprisal.

The District shall implement a multistage grievance procedure and an appellate stage for the settlement of grievances pursuant to the General Municipal Law.  In addition, the district shall implement procedures and regulations and designate an employee to carry out the responsibilities under Title IX and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This policy provides grievance procedures for those employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements or whose negotiated agreements do not include grievance procedures.  Staff complaints that are not covered under the General Municipal Law, or cannot be resolved under procedures of Title IX and Section 504 or the ADA shall be subject to the discretion of the Board of Education as to the method by which the complaint may be brought.

Annual Notification

At the beginning of each school year, the district shall publish a notice of the established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination due to sex and/or disability to parents/guardians, employees, eligible students and the community.  The public notice shall:

  1. Inform parents, employees, students and the community that vocational education programs are offered without regard to sex, race, color, national origin or disability
  2. Provide the name, address and telephone number of the person designated to coordinate activities concerning discrimination due to sex and/or disability
  3. Be included in announcements, bulletins, catalogues and applications made available by the district.

Cross-ref: Equal Opportunity

Ref: Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USC §12111-12117; 12210

General Municipal Law, Article 15‑c

Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC Chapter 38; 45 CFR Part 86

Rehabilitation Act of 1973, §504; 29 USC §794

Civil Service Law, Article 14

Matter of Gatje, 24 EDR 191 (1984)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9170 MEALS AND REFRESHMENTS

The Board of Education recognizes that, occasionally, it may be appropriate to provide refreshments and/or meals at district meetings or events, which are being held for a district or educational purpose. Any expenditure on such refreshments and/or meals must be approved in advance by the appropriate Building Administrator and the Purchasing Agent.  Meal requests may be approved when:

  • Officers and/or employees of the district will be prevented from taking time off for food consumption due to a pressing need to complete the business at hand
  • The district is faced with business of an immediate nature and meetings of district employees are essential at mealtime
  • An example of an authorized expenditure would be refreshments and/or meals for staff assigned to participate in assessment day grading of standardized test
  • The district wishes to recognize the services provided by volunteers or other unsalaried members of the district (in such cases, however, only the meals of those being recognized may be reimbursed and the cost of the meals must be reasonable).

All expenses must be appropriately documented, including the date, purpose of the meeting and the group in attendance, and submitted to the district’s Business Office for the purposes of audit and possible reimbursement

Ref:     NY Constitution, Art. VIII, §1 (constitutional prohibition against gifts)

Education Law §2118

Ops. St. Compt. 77-667; 79-522; 82-66; 82-213 82-298; 83-57; 98-2

Adoption date:  1218/13

9206 PERSONNEL

It shall be the policy of the Cohoes City School District to provide the following benefits to the following non-union affiliated employees:

Secretary to the Superintendent, District Clerk, Secretary to the School Business Official, Secretary to the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, Personnel Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Facilities, Occupational Therapist (OTR), Physical Therapist (PT).

COMPENSATION

Salary will be set annually at a regularly scheduled monthly business meeting of the Board of Education beginning in FY15/16.  Central Office Secretaries and the District Clerk covered under this policy shall receive a confidentiality stipend of $1,300 annually.

VACATION

For 12-month employees, earned vacation days shall not be credited to an employee unless they have completed six (6) months of continuous service.

After six months of service – one week of vacation

After one year of service – two weeks of vacation

After two years of service – four weeks of vacation

After twenty-five years of service – five weeks of vacation

Vacation time is not cumulative from one fiscal year to another unless approved by the Superintendent.

SICK LEAVE – 12 MONTH EMPLOYEES

Fifteen (15) days sick leave per year, accumulative to 225 days.

Employee shall be informed in writing once a year of their number of accumulative sick leave days.

PERSONAL LEAVE

Employee shall receive four (4) personal days per year.  Unused personal days will be added to sick leave accumulation.

SEVERANCE

Upon retirement, separation or death employees will receive:

(1) payment for unused sick leave credits – for fewer than five years of employment – accumulated sick leave credits up to 40 days;

(2) payment for unused sick leave credits – for five to nine years of employment – accumulated sick leave credits up to 50 days;

(3) payment for unused sick leave credits – for ten to nineteen  years of employment – accumulated sick leave credits up to 60 days;

(4) payment for unused sick leave credits – for twenty or more years of employment – accumulated sick leave credits up to 75 days; and

(5) payment  for unused vacation and personal time up to 23 days.

SERIOUS FAMILY ILLNESS

Employee shall be granted an extended sick leave without pay up to one (1) year for the purposes of caring for a seriously ill member of his/her immediate family. The Board may also grant additional leave without pay for this purpose.

HOLIDAYS

Employees are entitled to 15 paid holidays.  In the event that a holiday falls on a school day, another day will be selected to replace same with the approval of the Superintendent.

Independence Day

Labor Day

Columbus Day

Veterans Day

Thanksgiving

Day after Thanksgiving

Last working day before Christmas

Christmas Day

First working day after Christmas

New Year’s Eve Day

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Presidents Day

Good Friday

Friday before Memorial Day if there is no school due to an unused snow contingency day

Memorial Day

ON-THE-JOB INJURIES

Days allowed for absence due to injuries suffered on school district premises or in the performance of assigned duties, subject to certification by a duly qualified physician as to duration of the disability shall not be deducted from sick leave allowance.  In compensation cases resulting from injuries received in the performance of assigned duties or disease contracted from contact with an infected individual the employee will suffer no loss of pay or sick leave.  In such circumstances, the Board shall continue to pay the employee his/her regular salary and benefits for the period involved and the allowance paid the employee under Worker’s Compensation shall be transferred to the Board.  The employee shall not lose retirement benefits or any other emoluments of value which accrue to employees not so affected.

DISABILITY

May participate in the payroll deduction disability insurance program extended to CSEA members.

LEGAL AND BEREAVEMENT

Employee will be entitled to the following absence with pay each year with such days not to be deducted from sick leave:

(1) Any time necessary for appearance in any legal proceedings connected with employment or with the School System or for the performance of jury duty, because they have been subpoenaed in a legal matter.

(2) Time not to exceed five (5) days on any occasion in the event of the death of an employee’s spouse, child, parent, brother or sister.

(3) Time not to exceed three (3) days on any occasion in the event of the death of an employee’s grandfather, grandmother, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.

CHILD REARING

Child rearing leave as required by the Division of Human Rights and State and Federal Legislation will be granted for one year upon written notification.  The option of a second year is obtainable upon written request, provided, it is submitted at least sixty (60) days prior to the termination of the initial leave.

PENSION

Employees shall be entitled to be and/or become members of the New York State Employee’s Retirement System and in conjunction with Section 75(i) of the Retirement and Social Security Law shall be entitled to the full benefits of the 1/60th Non-contributory Retirement System Plan retroactive to 1938.

It is agreed that, under Section 41-j and 341-J of the Retirement and Social Security Law, up to 165 days of an employee’s unused sick leave is to be applied as additional service credit upon retirement.

HEALTH INSURANCE

Effective July 1, 2018, employee premium cost of Health/Rx insurance shall be 11% of premium.

Effective July 1, 2019, employee premium cost of Health/Rx insurance shall be 12% of premium.

Effective July 2020, employee premium cost of Health/Rx insurance shall be 13% of premium.

Effective July 2021, employee premium cost of Health/Rx insurance shall be 14% of premium.

DENTAL & VISION INSURANCE

The premium cost split for employees is 90% paid by the employer and 10% paid by the employee.

HEALTH INSURANCE BUYOUT

Employees or retirees that are otherwise health insured may voluntarily opt out of the School District’s health insurance program and receive a payment for opting out as follows:

Individual/Retiree –  $1,200

Two-Person  – $2,000

Family  –  $2,500

The employee must give written notice of opting out on or before May 31st for the period commencing July 1st of the following school year and must also produce proof of other health insurance at the time of making application for the buyout.

Re-entry into the District’s health insurance program shall be allowed at any time, subject only to the waiting period, if any, of the health insurance program’s rules and regulations.  Upon re-entry, the unit member must refund the pro-rated amount of the buy-out paid for the remaining months of the applicable year.  Newly hired employees may opt out of and receive this benefit on a pro-rated basis where applicable, at the time of hire, provided that proof of other health insurance is furnished to the Business Office at the time of making written application.

In the event that a unit member leaves the employ of the District after receiving a buy-out payment, but before the end of the applicable time period covered by the payment, said unit member shall be obligated to repay the District on a pro-rated basis the amount of the buy-out payment for the part of the period of the buy-out.  The District is also expressly authorized to deduct that amount from the remaining paycheck(s) of said employee in the event that repayment is not otherwise made.

FLEX PLAN

The District offers an IRC 125 plan.

Effective date (revisions)

03/15/95, 07/01/97, 08/19/98, 07/07/99, 09/20/00, 06/20/07, 08/15/07, 03/17/10, 02/26/14, 04/23/14, 06/07/17, 08/02/17

9240 RECRUITING AND HIRING

The Board of Education believes that the quality of the district’s employees in large part determines the quality of the education offered to the district’s students. As the employer for the school district, the Board will provide and maintain qualified and certified instructional and support personnel to carry out the educational programs of the district.

The Superintendent shall implement and maintain a high-quality recruiting and hiring program to attract, secure and retain the best-qualified staff to meet the needs of students and the district.

New or Revised Positions

The Superintendent will develop recommended qualifications for all new positions in the district and review the qualifications for all existing positions as necessary. The Board must approve the qualifications for all new positions in the district and revisions of the qualifications for existing positions.

The Superintendent shall refer all proposals for the creation or reclassification of all unclassified (non-instructional) positions and a statement of the duties for these positions to Civil Service for classification.

The Superintendent shall develop job descriptions that incorporate the qualifications and job duties for all positions in the school district.

Recruiting

The district will seek the most qualified candidates for vacant positions by recruiting from a variety of sources, including present staff.  District employees may apply for all positions for which they meet the certification and other stated qualifications.

The Board and its employees will adhere to the practice of recruiting and hiring personnel without regard to age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex or any other status protected by federal or state law.

Hiring

Through standard recruiting and hiring procedures, the Superintendent will ensure that candidates for district employment meet all the qualifications set for the position sought.  The district will comply with all the requirements of the Education and Civil Service laws, including any fingerprinting requirements. The Superintendent will recommend individuals for employment in the school district. 

Ref:     Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 USC §§ 621 et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 USC §§ 12101 et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability)

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 USC §§ 2000e et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, race, religion and sex)

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 29 USC § 794 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability)

Title IX, 20 USC §§ 1681 et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex)

New York State Constitution, article V, § 6 (requiring public employees be appointed on the basis of merit and fitness)

Civil Service Law §§ 22, 40-44, 61(1) (rules on classified positions)

Education Law §§ 1604(8), 1709(16), 2503(3), 2554(2), 3012(1)(a) (board’s authority to hire employees)

Education Law §§ 1604(39), 1709(39), 1804(9), 1950(4), 2503(18), 2554(25) (fingerprinting requirements)

Executive Law §§ 290 et seq. (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race or sex)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9260 CONDITIONAL APPOINTMENT STUDENT SAFETY POLICY

The Board of Education recognizes that there may be instances in which it is necessary, upon recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, for the Board to conditionally appoint or to make an emergency conditional appointment of a prospective employee. To provide for the safety of students who have contact with an employee holding a conditional appointment or an emergency conditional appointment, the Board adopts the following policy.

No district employee who holds a conditional or emergency conditional appointment shall be in contact with students other than to provide instruction and/or other required services.

No district employee who holds a conditional or emergency conditional appointment shall teach a class or provide services to students with his/her classroom or office door closed unless the Building Principal has provided express prior permission to do otherwise.

The Building Principal or his/her designee shall, at least twice a week, monitor the activities of such employees while on school district property during the period of their conditional or emergency conditional appointment.

In addition, the district will ensure that all personnel, including conditional and emergency conditional appointed employees, are aware of and receive training regarding the prohibition against child abuse in an educational setting and of their responsibility for reporting any such abuse. All conditionally appointed and emergency conditionally appointed employees receive this training at the time of their initial contingency appointment.

For purposes of this policy, the terms “conditionally appointed” and “emergency conditional appointment” shall refer to any employee holding conditional or emergency conditional appointment, as defined in Section 1709 of the Education Law.

Cross-ref:  Child Abuse in an Educational Setting

Ref:     Education Law §§1125-1133, 1709

8 NYCRR §§100.2 (hh); Part 87

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9320 DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE

The Board of Education prohibits the illegal, improper or unauthorized manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of any controlled substances in the workplace.  “Workplace” shall mean any site on school grounds, at school-sponsored activities or any place an employee is working within the scope of his/her employment or duties.  “Controlled substances” shall include all drugs that are banned or controlled under federal or state law, including those for which a physician’s prescription is required, as well as any other chemical substance which is deliberately ingested to produce psychological or physiological effects other than accepted foods or beverages.

The Superintendent or his/her designee shall implement related regulations that outline the requirements of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

Cross-ref:  Organization Chart

Staff Substance Abuse

Professional Staff Qualifications

Support Staff Qualifications

Ref:     Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA), P.L. 100-690

Controlled Substances Act, 21 USAC 812

21 CFR 1300.11-1300.15

34 CRF Part 85 (U.S. Dept. of Ed. Regulations under the DFWA)

Civil Service Law §75

Education Law §3020-a

Patchoque-Medford Congress of Teachers v. Board of Education, 70 NY2d 57 (1987)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9420.1 BUILDING PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER EVALUATION

In accordance with state law and regulation, it is the goal of the Board of Education to have a high-quality evaluation program for staff including building principals and classroom teachers which results in an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every building in the district.  In order to achieve that goal, the Superintendent of Schools shall be responsible for ensuring that building principals and classroom teachers are evaluated annually in accordance with state law and regulation.  Evaluations will be a significant factor in employment decisions including, but not limited to, promotion, retention, tenure determination, termination and supplemental compensation.

Annual Professional Performance Review Plan

The district will submit the required Annual Professional Performance Review Plan to the State Education Department in a timely manner, in conformance with state law, Regents Rules and Commissioner’s Regulations.  The Superintendent will provide periodic reports to the Board of Education on the progress of negotiations regarding the negotiable parts of the plan, salient information about the preparation of the plan, present the plan for Board approval and apprise the Board when the plan has been approved by the State.

The plan shall include a description of the required elements, including the following:

  • the process for transmitting accurate data to the State Education Department
  • scoring methods that ensure the integrity of the testing process
  • how quality rating categories/criteria will be used to differentiate professional development, compensation and promotion
  • how timely and constructive feedback from evaluations will be provided
  • plans to improve teacher performance for those rated ineffective
  • training for evaluators.

Once the district has received approval of the plan by the State Education Department, the plan will be posted on the district’s website within 10 days or by September 10th, whichever is later.

Classroom Teachers and Principals (Covered by Education Law § 3012-c)

Classroom teachers and building principals will receive a composite performance rating as part of the Annual Professional Performance Review, in accordance with the state law, by September 1st of the following school year.  The composite performance rating will fall into one of four categories:  highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective.  This composite rating will be made up of multiple measures of effectiveness and will include student performance on state and local tests, in accordance with the terms of the Annual Professional Performance Review plan.

When a teacher or principal is rated as developing or ineffective as a result of the Annual Professional Performance Review, the Superintendent or his/her designee must formulate and commence an improvement plan (TIP/PIP).  The improvement plan will be developed in accordance with negotiated agreements, but must be in place no later than 10 school days from the opening of classes in the school year following the school year for which the performance was rated.  The Superintendent will prepare an annual summary report for the Board on the number of TIPs/PIPs issued and other relevant data to support assessment of the effectiveness of the district’s approach to improvement plans.  In the event that the assessment reveals that progress isn’t being made, the administration will recommend changes to the approach.

Appeals

For classroom teachers and principals, an appeal of an evaluation may be commenced once the composite evaluation score has been received.  The right to appeal and the process of the appeal is prescribed by the Annual Professional Performance Review plan.

Training

The Superintendent is the lead evaluator for the district and shall plan his/her own professional development in order to maintain his/her expertise in this area.  The Superintendent shall ensure that all staff that are required to evaluate other staff are provided appropriate and sufficient training in assessment and evaluation in accordance with state laws and regulations.

Reporting and Public Disclosure

Upon request from a parent or legal guardian, the district will provide the final quality rating and composite effectiveness score for each of the classroom teachers and for the building principal to which the student is assigned.  The district will take reasonable steps to review the request to verify that the parent/guardian is entitled to the information.  The Superintendent will develop procedures to implement this provision of the policy.

Cross-ref:

Employee Complaints and Grievances

Personnel Records

Student Development

Ref:        Education Law § 3012-c

8 NYCRR Subpart 30-2

8 NYCRR §100.2(o)(2) (Professional Performance Review Plans)

Guidance on New York State’s Annual Professional Performance Review Guidance for    Teachers and Principals to Implement Education Law § 3012-c and the Commissioner’s Regulations, Updated, August 30, 2013.

Adoption date:  Adopted 12/18/13

9500 COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

The Board of Education believes that the district’s employees should receive fair compensation and benefits for the work it provides in serving the children of our community.  To this end, the Superintendent of Schools shall be responsible for establishing and administering the compensation and benefits provided to the district’s employees.

The Board and the school district will comply with all applicable federal and state laws that require minimum compensation and benefits be provided to employees.

Employees Covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements

The compensation and benefits for employees who are represented by recognized or certified employee organizations are established by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the employee organizations and the district.  The district will negotiate in good faith over these issues, as required by law, and will fully comply with the requirements of the Taylor Law and the collective bargaining agreements it enters into with its employees.

To ensure that the compensation and benefits provided to employees are fair and within the parameters of the district budget, the Board reserves its right to approve all additional funding required by the provisions of a tentative collective bargaining agreement, in addition to any right of ratification that is secured by the district’s negotiation representative(s).

Employees Not Covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements

The compensation and benefits for employees who are not represented by recognized or certified employee organizations shall be determined by the Superintendent with approval by the Board.

Ref:     Consolidated Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), 42 USC §§ 300bb-1 et seq. (federal law that requires the continuation of health insurance benefits under certain circumstances)

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 USC §§ 200 et seq. (federal law that requires a minimum wage and overtime for non-exempt employees)

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), 29 USC §§ 2610 et seq. (federal law that requires an unpaid leave of absence for certain family and medical situations)

Civil Service Law §§ 200 et seq. (“Taylor Law,” requires school districts to negotiate with unions)

Education Law § 3005-b (requires a minimum sick leave allotment and accumulation for teachers)

Adoption date: 12/18/13

9520.2 FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

Consistent with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 as amended, the Board of Education recognizes the right of eligible employees to unpaid, job protected family and medical leave for up to 12 workweeks during any 12-month period.  The Board shall ensure that all eligible employees who use such leave shall have their health benefits continued and shall be returned to an equivalent position according to established Board practices, policies and collective bargaining agreements.

To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the prior 12 months.

FMLA leave shall be granted for the following reasons:

  1. the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee
  2. the adoption or foster placement of a child
  3. to care for an employee’s spouse, parent, son or daughter with a serious health condition;
  4. due to a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job
  5. for a qualifying exigency as defined in law and regulation, arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on the active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty).

An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of a covered service member is entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave in a single 12-month period to care for the service member who is seriously ill or injured in the line of duty.

An employee may elect, or the district may require, an employee to use accrued paid vacation, personal or family leave for purposes of an FMLA leave.  An employee may elect, or the district may require, an employee to use accrued vacation, personal or medical/sick leave for purposes of a medical leave.

The employee shall notify the district of his/her request for leave, if foreseeable, at least 30 days prior to the date when the leave is to begin.  If such leave is not foreseeable, then the employee shall give such notice as is practical.  The district may require a certification from a healthcare provider if medical leave is requested.  When an employee returns following a leave, he/she must be returned to the same or equivalent position of employment.  The Superintendent of Schools or designee may reassign a teacher consistent with the teacher’s collective bargaining agreement to a different grade level, building or other assignment consistent with the employee’s certification and tenure area.

The Board shall ensure that FMLA is provided to all eligible employees, unless they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement which provides greater leave benefits than this Act.

The district shall post a notice prepared or approved by the Secretary of Labor stating the pertinent provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, including information concerning enforcement of the law.

Ref:     29 U.S.C. §§207, 2601, 2611, 2612, 2613, 2614, 2618, 2619.

29 CRF §§ 825.110, 825.309, 825.600, 825.603, 825.800.

Adoption date:  Adopted 06-18-14

9620 CHILD ABUSE IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING

The Board of Education recognizes that children have the right to an educational setting that does not threaten their physical and emotional health and development.  Child abuse by school personnel and school volunteers violates this right and therefore is strictly prohibited.

Allegations of child abuse by school personnel and school volunteers shall be reported in accordance with the requirements of Article 23-B of the Education Law.

Required Reporters

Any person holding any of the following positions shall be required to promptly report written and oral allegations of child abuse in an educational setting:

  • School board member
  • Teacher
  • School nurse
  • School guidance counselor
  • School psychologist
  • School social worker
  • School administrator
  • Other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate.

For purposes of this policy, persons holding these positions shall be referred to as “required reporters.”

Other district employees may, of course, report allegations of child abuse allegedly committed by district staff and volunteers and are encouraged to do so.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, “educational setting” means the buildings and grounds of the district, the vehicles provided by the district to transport students to and from school buildings, field trips, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities both on and off school district grounds, all co-curricular and extra-curricular activity sites, and any other location where direct contact between an employee or volunteer and a child has allegedly occurred.

“Child” means a person under the age of 21 enrolled in a New York State school district, other than New York City.

“Child abuse” generally refers to any intentional or reckless act by an employee or a volunteer against a child which injures or kills a child or creates a risk of injury or death, or constitutes child sexual abuse, or involves the actual or attempted dissemination of indecent materials to minors.  If a required reporter or any other district employee has a question as to whether alleged conduct constitutes “child abuse,” he or she shall promptly raise the question to the Principal of the building where the abuse is alleged to have occurred.  The Principal shall consult Article 23-B of the Education Law or the school attorney, if necessary, to determine whether the allegations constitute child abuse.

Reporting Requirements

Required reporters and any other district employee deciding to report an allegation of child abuse by district staff or volunteers shall complete a written report as soon as practical after receiving the allegation, but in no event shall a required reporter wait more than one workday to file a report.

The required reporter shall personally file the report with the Principal of the school in which the child abuse allegedly occurred.

If the alleged abuse did not occur in a school building, the report shall be filed with the Principal of the school attended by the alleged victim.

If the alleged abuser is an employee or volunteer of another district, the report shall be sent to the Superintendent of the district where the alleged child victim attends school and to the Superintendent of the district where the abuse allegedly occurred (if different).   The report shall be prepared on a standard form supplied by the district. Each Building Principal shall keep a supply of the forms available in his or her office.

Upon receiving a written report, the Principal shall determine whether there is reasonable suspicion to believe that an act of child abuse has occurred.  If the person making the allegation of abuse is someone other than the child or the child’s parent, the Principal shall contact the person making the report to learn the source and basis for the allegation.

If the Principal determines there is reasonable suspicion, he or she shall promptly notify the parent of the alleged child victim (assuming that the parent is not the person who originally reported the alleged abuse).  The notice shall be given by telephone (if possible) and in writing, sent via overnight mail to the parent.

The notice shall inform the parent of his or her rights and responsibilities related to the allegations of abuse.

The Principal shall also promptly provide a copy of the written report to the Superintendent and send a copy to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.  In no event shall the Principal delay in sending the report to law enforcement because of an inability to contact the Superintendent.

The Superintendent shall send to the Commissioner of Education any written report forwarded to the local law enforcement authorities where the employee or volunteer alleged to have committed an act of child abuse holds a certificate or license issued by the department.

Rights of Employees and Volunteers

Employees. Pending resolution of the allegations, no employee against whom an allegation of child abuse has been made shall be permitted to have unsupervised contact with any district student. Any employee against whom an allegation of child abuse has been made and against whom the district intends to take adverse action shall be entitled to receive a copy of the report and to respond to the allegations.

Volunteers. Pending resolution of the allegations, no volunteer against whom an allegation of child abuse shall be permitted to render volunteer services to the district. Any volunteer against whom an allegation of child abuse has been made and against whom the district decides to take adverse action shall be entitled to receive a copy of the report and to respond to the allegations.

Confidentiality

All reports and other written material submitted pursuant to this policy and Article 23-B of the Education Law shall be confidential and may not be redisclosed except to law enforcement authorities involved in investigating the alleged abuse or except as expressly authorized by law or pursuant to a court-ordered subpoena. The Principal and Superintendent shall exercise reasonable care to prevent unauthorized disclosure.

Penalties

Required Reporters.  Any required reporter who willfully fails to make a written report of alleged child abuse required by Article 23-B of the Education Law shall be subject to criminal penalties provided for in law, as well as disciplinary sanctions imposed in accordance with law and any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Administrators.  Any administrator who (1) willfully fails to submit a written report of alleged child abuse to an appropriate law enforcement authority as required by Article 23-B of the Education Law, or (2) makes any agreement to withhold from law enforcement authorities, the Superintendent or the Commissioner, the fact that an allegation of child abuse in an educational setting on the part of any employee or volunteer has been made in return for the employee’s or volunteer’s resignation or voluntary suspension from his or her position, or (3) willfully discloses a confidential record shall be subject to criminal penalties provided for in law, as well as disciplinary sanctions imposed in accordance with law and any applicable collective bargaining agreement.  In addition, the Commissioner of Education may, following an administrative determination, impose a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars on any administrator who fails to submit a report of child abuse to an appropriate law enforcement authority.

Record Retention

Any report of child abuse by an employee or volunteer that does not result in a criminal conviction shall be expunged from the records kept by the district with respect to the subject of the report after five years from the date the report was made.

Training

The Superintendent shall be responsible for establishing and implementing on an ongoing basis a training program for all required reporters on the procedures required under Article 23-B.  The program shall include at a minimum all the elements specified in Commissioner’s regulations.

Ref:     Education Law §§1125-1133

8 NYCRR § 100.2 (hh) (Reporting of Child Abuse in an Educational Setting)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9645 DISCLOSURE OF WRONGFUL CONDUCT

The Board of Education expects officers and employees of the district to fulfill the public’s trust and to conduct themselves in an honorable manner, abiding by all district policies and regulations and by all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

However, when district officers or employees know or have reasonable cause to believe that serious instances of wrongful conduct have occurred, they should report such wrongful conduct to the Superintendent of Schools or the Board. For purposes of this policy, the term “wrongful conduct” shall be defined to include:

  • theft of district money, property, or resources
  • misuse of authority for personal gain or other non-district purpose
  • fraud
  • violations of applicable federal and state laws and/or regulations
  • serious violations of district policy, regulation and/or procedure.

Disclosure and Investigation

Employees and officers who know or have reasonable cause to believe that wrongful conduct has occurred or is occurring shall report such mismanagement, fraud or abuse to the Superintendent or the Board, if the allegation involves the Superintendent. Upon receiving a report of alleged wrongful conduct, the district shall take prompt steps to conduct an investigation.

The Superintendent or other designee (e.g., School Attorney, Independent Auditor, etc.) shall maintain a written record of the allegation, conduct an investigation to ensure that the appropriate unit (e.g., auditors, forensic auditors, police, etc.) investigates the disclosure, and notify the Board when appropriate to do so.

Whistleblower Protections

Pursuant to section 75-b of the Civil Service Law, an employee or officer who provides disclosures of wrongful conduct that presents a substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety or which he or she reasonably believes to be true and improper on the part of the Board or the district shall have “whistleblower protection” against retaliation in the nature of adverse action affecting compensation, appointment, promotion, transfer, assignment, reassignment or evaluation of performance.

Pursuant to section 3028-d of the Education Law, an employee who has reasonable cause to suspect that the fiscal practices or actions of an officer or employee of the district violates any local, state, or federal law, rule or regulation relating to the financial practices of the district, and who, in good faith, reports such information to a district official, Office of the State Comptroller, Commissioner of Education or law enforcement authorities shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from the making of such report. Further, no district employee or officer may take, request, or cause a retaliatory action against any employee who makes such a report.

Any employee or officer who is concerned that retaliation for providing information regarding wrongful conduct has occurred or is occurring should report this to the Superintendent or the Board.

Dissemination and Review

This policy shall be published in employee handbooks, posted in employee lounges and given to all employees with fiscal accounting and/or money handling responsibilities on an annual basis.

The Superintendent of Schools, the Auditor, the School Attorney and others involved in implementing this policy shall meet with the Board once a year to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and to make appropriate adjustments, if any, to the policy.

Ref:     Civil Service Law §75-b

Education Law §3028-d

Labor Law §740

Garrity v. University at Albany, 301 A.D. 2d 1015 (3rd Dept. 2003)

Matter of Brey v. Bd. of Educ., 245 A.D. 2d (3rd Dept. 1997)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

9700 STAFF DEVELOPMENT

The Board of Education believes that staff training and development help ensure the success of educational programs and improve the efficiency of the district.  Therefore, the district will provide development opportunities to staff to increase their effectiveness and job performance. The Superintendent of Schools shall be responsible for implementing and administering staff development programs for the district’s employees.

Administrators

All administrators in the school district will receive appropriate training and professional development in accordance with law, regulation or any applicable collective bargaining agreement.  The Superintendent will be responsible for providing such training and development.

Teachers

All teachers will be provided with substantial professional development opportunities directly related to student learning in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement and the district’s Professional Development Plan.  The plan shall include:

  • A needs analysis, goals, objectives, strategies, activities and evaluation standards for professional development in the district and a description of how the district will provide all teachers substantial professional development activities directly related to student learning needs identified in school report cards and other sources.
  • A description of how the professional development provided will align with New York standards and assessments, teacher capacities and student needs, including linguistic, cultural diversity and special needs. Activities must be articulated across grade levels and subject areas and show how they will be provided and measured in a continuous manner.
  • A description of how it will provide teachers holding a professional certificate with opportunities to maintain their certificate in good standing by successfully completing 175 hours of professional development every five years.
  • A mentoring program to provide support for new teachers in order to ease the transition from teacher preparation to practice, thereby increasing retention of teachers in the public schools, and to increase the skills of new teachers in order to improve student achievement.

The Board shall establish a Professional Development Team to review and revise the district’s Professional Development Plan annually.  The Board shall appoint members to the team at the first regular Board meeting in September.

The Professional Development Team shall meet on or before October 1.  The Superintendent or his/her designee will serve as the chair of the team and will be responsible for ensuring the timely review and revision of the district’s Professional Development Plan.

The Professional Development Team will submit any recommended revisions to the Professional Development Plan to the Board by April 1.  The Board will consider the recommendations at its first regular meeting thereafter.  The Board may accept or reject the recommendations of the team in whole or in part. The Board may also request any additional information or data needed to evaluate the success of the program in achieving its objectives.

Any further changes in the plan must be submitted to the Board by June 1.  The Board will consider and act on the revised plan by June 30th.  The Board reserves the right to make changes to the revised plan.

Other Professional Staff and Support Staff

The district will provide staff development activities for other professional staff and support staff within the financial constraints of the district budget and in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Other Staff Development Opportunities

The Board recognizes that many staff development opportunities are provided through non-school district sources.  Within budgetary restraints, district employees may attend conferences, workshops, study councils, in-service courses, summer study grants, school visitations, and other relevant staff development opportunities.

Released time and reimbursement for such activities will be available upon approval of the Superintendent and in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements.  The Superintendent may establish regulations pursuant to this policy to establish the circumstances under which such released time and reimbursement may be available.  Staff members who attend such activities will be required to prepare a report or summary of the activity attended.

Cross-ref: Staff Evaluation

Ref:     Education Law § 3604(8) (Superintendent Conference Days)

8 NYCRR § 100.2(dd) (Professional Development Plans)

8 NYCRR §100.2(o)(iii)(b)(5) (required training on conducting staff evaluations)

Adoption date:  03/19/14

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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