A trio of directives aimed at establishing clear and coherent policies covering employee transfers, interim employee placement and employee discipline were adopted Monday by the Webster Parish School Board.
Board President Charles Strong had requested members break into three committees to look into ways the board could operate more efficiently and Jerry Lott's policy and procedure committee delivered its recommendations for review. The presentation came during a committee meeting prior to the scheduled board session.
Two of the three proposals covered placement of employees, and Lott said the superintendent's decisions under Act 1 to transfer an employee would conform with what "is in the best interest of the Webster Parish School Board. Employee transfers should be determined on that basis alone, on a case by case basis," Lott said.
Interim employee placement, also a decision of the superintendent on a case by case basis, is not to exceed one year "as the need arises based upon what the superintendent deems to be the best interest of the school board," Lott offered.
Lott said the employee discipline recommendations covered primarily tenured teachers. Some recommendations in the tenured teacher discipline policy, drawn from Forethought and Hammonds, Sills, Adkins and Guice, include:
Teacher with tenure shall not be disciplined except upon written and signed charges by the superintendent or his/her designee of poor performance, willful neglect of duty, incompetency, dishonesty or immorality.
Teachers may be disciplined for being a member of or contributing to any group, organization, movement or corporation that is by law or injunction, prohibited from operating in the state of Louisiana.
A teacher shall have 10 calendar days from written notice of the charges to respond in person or in writing. If within 10 days after receipt of teacher's response if no interim disciplinary action is taken, the teacher may request a hearing before a disciplinary hearing officer.
A randomly appointed hearing officer shall be appointed by the superintendent drawn from a list of at least five disciplinary hearing officers. A school district with fewer than 20,000 students shall maintain a list of at least five hearing officers.
Parish board members opted to join in consortium with other area parishes (most likely Bossier, Caddo and DeSoto) to pool a list of disciplinary officers. "Our purpose (joining the consortium) is to not give someone locally an advantage," board member Frankie Mitchell pointed out.
A disciplinary hearing may be either private or public, at the option of the teacher.
Within 60 days from the postmarked date of written notification of a decision, the school board or the teacher may petition a court of competent jurisdiction (district court) to review the matter as a summary proceeding.
Board members also agreed that if any disciplinary measures become necessary, any documentation of the action shall be considered confidential. Discipline or disciplinary action includes only suspension without pay, reduction in pay, involuntary demotion or dismissal.