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The Grady County Board of Education has placed several new policies on the table for public inspection prior to adopting them at the July board meeting.
The proposed new policies are necessary to bring the local school district’s policies in compliance with state law.
One of the policies up for a vote next month will reduce the amount of notice time a citizen must give of their intent to address the board during public participation at a board meeting.
Current policy requires that citizens notify the school superintendent by noon on Thursday prior to the Tuesday school board meeting. State law has changed and a citizen now must only provide 24 hours notice.
Another policy up for consideration regulates gifts and bequests. Grady County school superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said that web-based solicitations by classroom teachers have become more popular as of late, and while he does not oppose them, he told the board Tuesday night that a policy must be in place to regulate what happens to the materials and /or equipment that was purchased with the funds once a teacher leaves the employment of the local school district.
The Board of Education delegates to the superintendent the authority to accept or deny gifts or donations on behalf of the School District. However, any gift that a potential donor has expressly made conditional upon the District’s use for a specified purpose, any gift of real property, or any gift that includes operating or upkeep costs must be approved by the Board of Education.
The District shall not accept any gift or donation that would violate or conflict with policies or actions of the Board or with federal or state law.
Before the superintendent accepts a gift or donation from any source, including booster clubs, or recommends acceptance to the board, as applicable, the superintendent shall consider whether the gift: 1. Has a purpose consistent with the district’s educational mission and vision; 2. Would support a program that the board may be unable or unwilling to continue when a donation of funds is exhausted; 3. Would result in inequitable funding, equipment, or resources among district schools or programs; 4. Would obligate the district or a school to assume additional administrative responsibilities; 5. Would require or imply the endorsement of a specific business, product or program.
In accepting any donation of items or services to the athletic programs of the district, the superintendent or his or her designee shall establish a valuation of the donation and may request from the donor a valuation or an accounting of actual costs incurred regarding the donation.
The superintendent or his or her designee also may set a valuation for donations to other programs as appropriate or required for accounting purposes.
Upon acceptance, the gifts or donations become the property of the district and are subject to the laws, rules, policies, and regulations that govern the district.
The superintendent is authorized to develop and implement administrative regulations to govern the acceptance of gifts, donations, grants or bequests to the district.
Solicitation of gifts or donations by an employee who wishes to solicit gifts or donations for use in the fulfillment of his or her professional responsibilities on behalf of the district shall comply with relevant state and federal law and district administrative regulations.
All donations solicited on behalf of the district, including solicitations in the name of the district of a school, become the property of the district.
A third policy up for adoption brings local policies in compliance with paid parental leave.
According to Dr. Gilliard, currently employees can take earned leave or can take unpaid leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act, but under this new policy employees, either mother or father, are eligible for up to 120 hours of paid parental leave.
The fourth policy placed on the table establishes an appeals process for teachers dissatisfied with their teacher evaluation, which was not previously part of the policy and revisions are required statewide due to changes at the state level.
The full texts of the four policies are available on the school system’s website for public inspection.
In other business Tuesday night, the school board:
• Voted to approve the payment of accounts payable totaling $2,340,949.05.
• Approved the purchase of 5,000 protective laptop cases from low bidder Mohawk USA for a total of cost of $64,450. The school system can use its federal CARES Act COVID relief funding to cover the purchase, according to Dr. Gilliard.
• Approved the complete sanding of the Cairo High School gym floor, painting and restriping, which has not been done since the gym was built 14 years ago. The lone bidder on the project is Luke Van Camp’s Floors & More of Tallahassee for $54,700. Finance officer Dan Broome said he would pay for the maintenance project out of Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.