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Jim Tait 02/01-02/28/17

home : news : news July 25, 2017

7/14/2017 7:29:00 AM
AV-W changes employee handbook regarding days surrounding breaks
Unpaid time off, pay for insurance the day absent
Abbey McEnroe/Lakeland Times

The Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School Board met on Monday, July 10 to discuss leave request policy surrounding scheduled vacation days on the school calendar. Pictured, from left, president Jack Jurries, Randy Quade, vice president Stacy Larson, clerk Pat Cirese, treasurer Brad Walbruck.
Abbey McEnroe/Lakeland Times

The Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School Board met on Monday, July 10 to discuss leave request policy surrounding scheduled vacation days on the school calendar. Pictured, from left, president Jack Jurries, Randy Quade, vice president Stacy Larson, clerk Pat Cirese, treasurer Brad Walbruck.

Abbey McEnroe
Lakeland Times reporter


The Arbor Vitae-Woodruff School Board voted Monday to change policies in the employee handbook regarding vacation days before and after scheduled school calendar breaks.

Leave surrounding scheduled school calendar breaks now have the additional stipulations of being classified as unpaid time off, without the use of paid vacation days, personal days, or sick days, and the employee will have to pay for their own insurance for the day or days they take off.

"'A leave request that extends a scheduled break in the school calendar spring break, winter break, Thanksgiving, will be granted with the following stipulations,'" AV-W district administrator Jocelyn Smith read from the 2017-2018 employee handbook. "So, we tried to put a positive spin on it, like if you're still going to take the day off that it's a day without pay and you can't use leave ..."

The main concern surrounding employees extending school breaks is the difficulty in finding coverage.

Smith said this change would take the pressure off of the grade teams to continue saying yes to cover absent coworkers in their grade level.

"I guess it would also take some pressure off those teams to continue to say 'yes' if we just took it out of their hands and said 'no,'" Smith explained.

Smith took the policy a step further and suggested that as well as days before and after scheduled vacation days being classified as unpaid time off, "(w)e also talked about if that's the case they're going to, for that day, be responsible for paying their insurance on that day as well," Smith stated.

School board vice president Stacy Larson asked what Smith and principal Rich Fortier preferred.

Fortier said he preferred the day or days be unpaid and insurance to be reimbursed to the school for the absent days.

School board clerk Pat Cirese was the only board member to have a problem with employees having to pay their own insurance for days absent.

"I have a hard time charging them for their insurance for that day, too. I think they're getting dinged with no pay for their day, which is fine but ..." Cirese expressed.

"The thing is, you want to make it really unattractive," Larson responded.

School board president Jack Jurries agreed with Larson.

"I think pay and insurance," Jurries asserted.

Larson made a motion to approve the leave before scheduled vacation days policy change.

"I'll make a motion to approve the leave before ... scheduled vacation days policy change to include with the stipulations noted," Larson motioned.

Cirese requested the exact stipulations be noted in the meeting minutes.

"The following stipulations: employee will not be paid for the day/days requested off and will not be allowed to use paid leave of any type. Employee will be responsible for maintaining insurance coverage for the day/dates of absence," Smith read.

Jurries suggested the handbook be read as "responsible for reimbursement for insurance for that day" to avoid confusing language.

After the motion was read Larson questioned if there are any exceptions.

"We have to be human, too, people have things that come up," Cirese expressed.

"There are days and times that you have to eventually put your foot down," Jurries responded.

Fortier said Smith has executive power over the policy and if a teacher had a serious issue come up the day before or after scheduled vacation days they could always approach Smith.

"Jocelyn's very approachable and if somebody has an issue they're going to come to her," Fortier stated.

The board passed the motion with Cirese voting no based on the insurance stipulation.



The board also

• Increased meal pricing 10 cents per meal. Students will be charged $1.60 for breakfast and $2.85 for lunch. Staff and adult guests will be charged $2.05 for breakfast and $3.60 for lunch.

• Approved a bid from A'viands for 2017-2018 food service for a flat rate of $11,400. The second Taher's bid for a flat rate was $22,500.

• Approved a bid from Country Charm Carpet to tile 16 rooms for $17,732. This was the only bid received.

Abbey McEnroe may be reached via email at amcenroe@lakelandtimes.com.



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017
Article comment by: Leanne Miller

There must not be a union at the AV-W school district. This would NEVER get past the union in my school district in Illinois.

I see this abused regularly in my district because employees just call in sick--so I can understand the no pay part--I'm just not sure I agree regarding the insurance part, but I see their point about making it hurt to get compliance.




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