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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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School Board gives gift to 12-month employees

Division shutdown over winter break gives three extra days of paid leave

The King George School Board unanimously agreed to an impromptu request by Superintendent Candace Brown to close down the entire school division over the winter holiday break.
The action took place at last week’s meeting on Dec. 9.
Brown requested at Wednesday’s meeting to add a “holiday break” action item to the agenda.  
The School Board was asked to take action to close down the entire school division at the end of the business day on Dec. 23 and stay closed until the morning of Jan. 4, when school reopens according to the adopted calendar.
Brown provided no handouts or written rationale, but noted the proposed action would save some costs for electricity and heat.  
The action by the School Board also results in providing three additional days of paid leave for all 12-month employees who would otherwise be required to go to work.

School Board member Payne Kilbourn asked Brown to elaborate on why she even needed to bring the issue up to the School Board to take action on the request.   
Brown noted it was beyond her authority granted by policy.
With no more questions or explanation, a motion was made and unanimously adopted as requested.
Kilbourn appeared to be unaware of the two School Board policies Brown had in mind.
Days off over winter break is addressed in two policies, GCBD-R, titled “Professional Staff Leave Benefits,” and GDBD-R, titled “Support Staff Leave Benefits.”
Under those policies, 245-day employees, also called 12-month employees, would be expected to only take off Dec. 24 and 25 (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), along with Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 (New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day), as usual.
But the vote taken last week effectively provides for additional paid leave on Dec. 28, 29 and 30 for all central office and school building administrators, secretaries, technicians, mechanics, custodians and maintenance workers.
It should be noted that teachers and paraprofessionals (instructional aides) are not affected by last week’s vote. Those categories of employees already have the time off because the days are granted off in accordance with the adopted school calendar.
The other days for which employees are given paid leave include:  Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, day after Thanksgiving, King, Lee-Jackson Day, Presidents’ Day and Memorial Day.
It also includes the days off during spring vacation, which add up to a full week off associated with Easter.
The same policies also note that if an official school day is scheduled by the School Board for any of the listed holidays that 12-month employees shall report for duty as usual.
And, if any of the above-noted holidays fall on a weekend, the holiday will be taken on the first available weekday.
Later in the same meeting, Brown also hinted that in future years the School Board might add another paid holiday in November.  
Brown provided information on the high numbers of students absent last month on the half day of school on the day before Thanksgiving, saying having school that day “is always a point of discussion.”

 

Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter

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