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School Board addresses sex offender, sick bank policies

At Wednesday’s School Board meeting the board adopted several policies.
Colonial Beach School Board has now implemented its sick leave bank. The bank is a voluntary membership program that allows full time employees to contribute two sick leave days to the bank. Once an eligible member uses all of their sick leave they can draw from the bank to continue to seek treatment without fear of financial burden for up to 40 days. The sick leave can be used for the employee’s illness or if a member of their immediate family such as a child, spouse or parent is ill and requires their help to recuperate.
Another notable policy adoption concerns the sex offender registry. The School Board voted to replace the old policy under file delineation of KNA, which is titled “Violent Sex Offenders on School Property,” with the file KN titled “Sex Offender Registry Notification.”

KNA states that, “No adult who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, as defined in Va. Code § 9.1-902, may enter or be present, during school hours or during school related or school sponsored activities, and any school, unless…” he is voting lawfully, is a student enrolled at the school or has obtained a court order allowing him to enter and be present on the property.
KN is a revised version of the sex offender policy and clarifies that parents who are  violent sex offenders will be treated the same way as other parents who are non-violent sex offenders with regard to requests to be present at school.
The Virginia School Board Association revised these policies to reflect a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court. This decision clarified that school boards, not the local circuit court, have the right to determine whether, or under what circumstances, a violent sex offender may come onto school property.
The board also passed a policy concerning benefits for retirees which states, “No benefits shall be paid on the retiree’s behalf for health insurance. They are allowed to stay on the group plan at full cost to the retiree until age 65.”
The board even adopted a policy on “How to adopt policies.”
School board member Mike Looney stated that Superintendent Donna Power has concerns. She does not want the School Board to automatically approve every policy that comes to it from the VSBA until they are sure that it is appropriate for the Colonial Beach school system.
Looney recommended an option that would ensure the board actually discusses every policy before it is put in the policy manual.
Looney expressed concerns that in the past years, policies from the VSBA have just piled up and not been acted upon for years. Looney wants to make sure that does not happen in the future.
“Right now we are trying to personalize every issue that we deal with, whether it is finance, the town or instruction,” Power said. “I think when we individualize the policies it only builds the strength of our School Board, the support of our school.”  
Under the new guidelines all policies will be looked at as soon as they comes from VSBA at the next available meeting and the final authority will rests solely with the School Board.
Power expressed that she was confident that this “Adoption Policy” would cover both her concerns as well as Looney’s.

Linda Farneth
The Journal

 

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