School board discusses compensatory time policy

By Troy Brooks - [email protected]

The Elkin Board of Education finished its Aug. 22 meeting by discussing the new policy regarding compensatory time for exempt employees and the fiscal year 2017 line item budget for local funds presented at the Aug. 15 work session.

The school board first discussed the new policy regarding compensatory time for exempt employees.

“I got a nice email from Susan Bennett, one of our teachers, who was glad to be able to read the policy in advance,” said Superintendent Dr. Don Martin. “She gave some other perspectives, part of which brought up the fact that there is a school-level comp time provision. It was formal the way she explained it. My response to her was my appreciation on bringing the thoughts up so we can make this better, but also make this a policy, too.”

The policy would apply toward teachers who are volunteering for extra duties and how they would swap off time. The question comes when can they use that time. Discussion pinpointed that it could be a management issue in recording the time, something that the principal would be responsible for managing.

“Mrs. Bennett acknowledges right off, if I can get my papers graded during the day, that’s on me,” said Martin. “But she says, for example, if I take up tickets for a soccer game and I’m there for two hours and keep track of those two hours, then how can I take those two hours off, in say an optional workday, days built into the calendar which teachers may take annual leave on those days.”

The policy would give teachers more flexibility in working extra tasks, such as school projects and voluntary activities, at the school along with their annual leave. This kind of policy would be voluntary for teachers and would apply to other duties that may be assigned in the standard student contract.

The pay period will be a good time to implement the policy, noted officials.

“My suggestion, limit the number of hours so they don’t become unlimited,” said Martin.

“It’s been in place for a long time successfully,” said school board member Dr. Jane Riley. “I suggest not fixing what’s not broken.”

“There’s not a record of the hours right now,” said Martin. “This would create records in the central office. The school levels have records already. Going back to the ticket taking example, my wife said that there would be nobody taking up ticket money less they were getting paid.”

Board members also discussed the fiscal year 2017 line item budget for local funds presented at the Aug. 15 work session. Adoption of the 2017 budget is expected at the Sept. 26 board meeting.

The board discussed miscellaneous expenses estimated around $35,000 due to budget slippage.

“The $35,000 is a mislabeled thing,” said Jan Zachary, chief financial officer of Elkin City Schools. “It’s not expenditures made by the board, but small amounts of money for miscellaneous expenditures such as the retirement dinner, events, convocation expenses, memorials, and things that are district-wide expenses.”

The board also looked at the $12,000 used for board expenses and contemplated on lowering the amount. This $12,000 is often used for board expenses including travels costs, fees for the school board association, meeting, and staff development expenses.

The board discussed cutting back the board expenses by around 50 percent.

“If we cut board fees, we will have more finances to use for dinners, special events, memorials, and other miscellaneous expenses whenever we may need them,” said Riley.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, last year, $1,900 was spent,” said Martin. “Obviously we’re comfortable with just $3,500 to $4,000. It is giving a more realistic view of what you’re planning. We will bring this back at the last meeting, the final adoption of the budget for the 2016-17 school year. If we have any suggested changes, we will outline those.”

Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.

By Troy Brooks

[email protected]

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