Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vacation policy remains unchanged, health and wellness changes tabled

At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, after some discussion, the board decided not to make changes to districts classified employes vacation policy. This policy is decided through a Master Contract Agreement between School District 17H & 1 and the Classified Employees Association. The current policy, in accordance with Montana Code, does not allow annual vacation leave to exceed two times the maximum vacation days earned annually. 
 
According to the policy, once this number of accrued vacation days is reached, the employee cannot accrue additional vacation time until they either take vacation days or the employee requests a payout on their vacation time. According to the master agreement, these payout request can happen only in June or December.
 
The Employees Association presented to the board a change that would allow an employee to continue to accrue vacation time even though he or she had exceeded the two-times allowable vacation days earned.
 
After lengthy discussion, the policy change was not acted upon. Board member Jon Wells said, “Follow the current contract.”
 
In other business, the board tabled changes to the health and wellness policy until the March 14 meeting.
Two of these changes, according to Food Program Director Patrice O’Loughlin, are required or the school will be ineligible for funding (grants) from Team Nutrition and/or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
 
One of these changes involves the use of physical activity as a disciplinary measure. This would include withholding recess or physical education classes. It would also include the assigning of extra physical activity as a disciplinary measure.
 
The second part of these changes involves the selling of food for fundraisers and food served for class parties.
This policy change would encourage teachers to contact the School Nutrition Director to arrange for healthy meals or snacks. 
 
The sale of foods and beverages that do not meet the “Smart Snack” rule are not permitted during the school day. The “Smart Snack” is a USDA program that sets guidelines for schools setting nutritional standards for school lunches and snacks. The rule also prohibits the marketing of foods that do not meet this criteria on school campuses.
 
The next school board meeting is March 14 at the district office.
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