Former Superintendent of Personnel and Operations and newly hired Superintendent of Instruction Beth Sumner filled in for Superintendent Tim McGinnis, who was on vacation last week. One of the first notable policies that Sumner recommended changing was one detailing the responsibilities of principals and site-based decision-making council members regarding SBDM council elections. There were several small changes to the wording in some paragraphs, but the biggest change was the rule about term limits. Sumner said that council representatives were previously limited to two one-year terms, but that she was recommending that the board change district policy to let the individual schools decide if they wanted to have term limits. Parent representatives, of course, must have at least one child attending the school in question. Board Attorney Howell Hopson said that there was nothing in the law mandating limits on council terms. The board agreed to have the first reading of the amended policy.
The board discussed whether or not they wanted to keep another policy that prohibits schools in the district from hiring anyone who has been terminated in the past for a specific reason. Sumner said this policy did not apply to people who had been let go for budgetary reasons, but applied to all those who had been fired for performance reasons or other infractions. Chairman Mike Davis asked if this also included teachers “who just didn’t work out” in the past, but who might have matured over the years. Sumner said that it did. Hopson advised the board that if they wanted to allow the district and schools to reconsider past employees in the future, that they could amend policy to allow that. Sumner said the wording of the policy came straight from Fayette County, but that she would do some additional research on what other districts do and they could look at it again at a later date. Davis said he was in favor of holding off on that particular policy.
“Although it’s silly to hire someone you just let go, with more experience, someone might be better suited for a job,” Davis said. He added later, “Never’s a long time.”
The board also decided to change the wording of its drug and alcohol-free policies. Sumner said she was recommending changing the wording because the current wording was too specific and that written policies have trouble keeping with illegal drugs. The current policy says that district employees shall not “manufacture, distribute, dispense be under the influence of, purchase, use or attempt to purchase or obtain, sell or transfer any of the following in the workplace or in the performance of duties: alcohol or any other narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbituate, marijuana or any other controlled substance as defined by federal regulation.”
The new wording specifically mentions, alcohol, “controlled substances, prohibited rugs and substances and drug paraphernalia,” as well as “substances that ‘look like’ a controlled substance. In instances involving look-alike substances, there must be evidence of the employee’s intent to pass off the item as a controlled substance.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.