Employee Handbook

Last Updated: 7/1/2021 7:59 PM
 

PDF Version of Employee Handbook

 

Introduction

 

The purpose of this handbook is to provide information that will help with questions and pave the way for a successful year. Not all district policies and procedures are included. Those that are have been summarized. Suggestions for additions and improvements to this handbook are welcome and may be sent to the Superintendent’s Office

 

This handbook is neither a contract nor a substitute for the official district policy manual. Nor is it intended to alter the at-will status of noncontract employees in any way. Rather, it is a guide

to and a brief explanation of district policies and procedures related to employment. These policies and procedures can change at any time; these changes shall supersede any handbook

provisions that are not compatible with the change. For more information, employees may refer to the policy codes that are associated with handbook topics, confer with their supervisor, or call

the appropriate district office. District policies can be accessed online at  www.cueroisd.org and are available for employee review during normal working hours.

 

District information

 

 

 

Description of the District

The Cuero Independent School District is a public educational agency operating under the applicable laws and regulations of the State of Texas.  It is governed by a seven member Board

of Trustees elected by the registered voters of the District. The Board is the policy-making body

and its members serve without compensation as representatives of District constituents. The District derives its legal status from the Constitution of the State of Texas and from the Texas Education Code as passed and amended by the Legislature of Texas. Texas Const., Art. VII The District is located 95 miles south of Austin, Texas, in central DeWitt County.

 

 

District Map

Each campus as well as the CISD Administration offices has a District map that not only shows the CISD district boundaries but also the boundaries for each individual trustee.

 

Mission Statement, Goals, and Objectives

The mission of CISD is to empower all students to reach their potential and become responsible, respectful citizens by teaching an enriched curriculum using all available resources.

 

 

OBJECTIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOALS

 

The objectives of public education are:

Objective 1: Parents will be full partners with educators in the education of their children. Objective 2: Students will be encouraged and challenged to meet their full educational

potential.

 

Objective 3: Through enhanced dropout prevention efforts, all students will remain in school until they obtain a diploma.

 

Objective 4: A well-balanced and appropriate curriculum will be provided to all students. Through that curriculum, students will be prepared to succeed in a variety of postsecondary activities, including employment and enrollment in institutions of higher education.

 

Objective 5: Educators will prepare students to be thoughtful, active citizens who have an appreciation for the basic values of our state and national heritage and who can understand and productively function in a free enterprise society.

 

Objective 6: Qualified and highly effective personnel will be recruited, developed, and retained.

 

Objective 7: Texas students will demonstrate exemplary performance in comparison to national and international standards.

 

Objective 8: School campuses will maintain a safe and disciplined environment conducive to student learning.

 

Objective 9: Educators will keep abreast of the development of creative and innovative techniques in instruction and administration using those techniques as appropriate to improve student learning.

 

Objective 10: Technology will be implemented and used to increase the effectiveness of student learning, instructional management, staff development, and administration.

 

Objective 11: The State Board of Education, TEA, and the commissioner shall assist school districts and charter schools in providing career and technology education to students.

 

The academic goals of public education are to serve as a foundation for a well-balanced and appropriate education. The students in the public education system will demonstrate exemplary performance in:

 

Goal 1: The reading and writing of the English language. Goal 2: The understanding of mathematics.

Goal 3: The understanding of science.

 

Goal 4: The understanding of social studies.

 

Board of Trustees

Policies BA, BB series, BD series, and BE series

 

Texas law grants the board of trustees the power to govern and oversee the management of the district’s schools. The board is the policy-making body within the district and has overall responsibility for the curriculum, school taxes, annual budget, employment of the superintendent, and other professional staff, and facilities. The board has complete and final control over school matters within limits established by state and federal law and regulations.

 

The board of trustees is elected by the citizens of the district to represent the community’s commitment to a strong educational program for the district’s children. Five trustees are elected from single-member districts and two from at-large districts; and, all serve three-year terms. Trustees serve without compensation, must be registered voters, and must reside in the district.

 

Current board members include:

 

District 1

District 3

District 5

B.J. Drehr

Beverly Kuecker

Bill Hamilton

 

District 2

Gerard Gonzales

 

District 4

Courtney Moore

 

At-Large Positions

Donnie Garrison, Mary Sheppard

 

The board usually meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. except for the months of September and October. In September and October, the regular meetings of the Board shall

be held on the third Monday at 6:30 p.m. Special meetings may be called when necessary. A

written notice of regular and special meetings will be posted on the Bulletin Board at the Cuero

ISD Administration Building and on the District website at least 72 hours before the scheduled meeting time. The written notice will show the date, time, place, and subjects of each meeting. In emergencies, a meeting may be held with a one-hour notice as required by Texas Government Code §551.045

 

All meetings are open to the public. In certain circumstances, Texas law permits the board to go into a closed session from which the public and others are excluded. Closed session may occur for such things as discussing prospective gifts or donations, real-property acquisition, certain personnel matters including employee complaints, security matters, student discipline, or consulting with attorneys regarding pending litigation.

 

 

Board Meeting Schedule for 2020-2021

 

August 13, 2020

December 17, 2020

April 15, 2021

September 21, 2020

October 19, 2020

January 21, 2021

February 18, 2021

May 20, 2021

June 17, 2021

November 19, 2020

March 18, 2021

July 15, 2021

 

 

Administration

 

 

 

Superintendent ...................................................................................... Dr. Micah Dyer Secretary to the Superintendent/ HR ............................................... Jessica Hernandez Asssistant Superintendent for Business & Finance ........................... Mark Iacoponelli Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction ........... Dr. Pam Longbotham Director of Special Education.....................................................................Kim Alvarez

Athletic Director......................................................................................... Jack Alvarez District Nurse ............................................................................................. Wanda Hays Director of Transportation ............................................................................ Bo Daniel

Facilities & Maintenance Director ........................................................ Dwayne Noack

 

Instructional Technology Director ............................................................... Oscar Ray Newtork and Infrastructure Administrator………………………………Dave Truman District Librarian ..............................................................................Jennifer Hudgeons

PEIMS Coordinator...............................................................................Connie Phillips

 

PAC Coordinator & Education Foundation Executive Director ............Jaime Stanfill

 

 

 

School Calendar

Each employee is given a District calendar at the beginning of each school year and may be found on the District website at www.cueroisd.org.

 

Helpful Contacts

From time to time, employees have questions or concerns. If those questions or concerns cannot be answered by supervisors or at the campus or department level, the employee is encouraged to

contact the appropriate department as listed below.

 

 

 

 

Cuero Administration Building                                 960 East Broadway

Supt’s Secretary                      275-1914                     FAX                                        275-2981

Asst Supt Business                  275-1913                     FAX                                        275-8597

Accounts Payable                    275-1919                     Payroll                                     275-1912

 

Asst Supt Curriculum              275-1922                     Sp Prog/Parent Involvement  275-1916

Transportation Director          275-1918                     Bus Barn                                 275-1907

Athletic Department               275-1940                     FAX                                        275-6354

District Nurse                          275-1917                     Director of Special Ed            275-1903

District Librarian                     275-1935                     PEIMS                                    275-1920

Facilities Director                   275-1909                     PAC & Ed Foundation           275-1924

Technology Director               275-1994                     Digital Learning Coord          275-1994

 

 

Cuero Senior High School                                        920 East Broadway

Kim Fleener, principal                                                Gene Lasseter & Jason Stanley, asst prin

Principal’s Secretary

Counseling Dept

275-1923

275-1991

FAX

HS Nurse

275-2430

275-1989

 

 

Cafeteria

275-1932

Attendance

Band/Choir Hall

275-1929

275-1939

Ag Building

HOE Nursing

275-1949

275-1938

Cuero Junior High School                                        608 Junior High Drive

Jennifer Dracos, principal                                           Brandon Hargers, Dean of Students

Principal’s Secretary

Counseling Dept

275-1950

275-1952

FAX

JHS Nurse

275-6912

275-1951

 

 

Cafeteria

275-1957

Hunt Elementary School                                           550 Industrial Boulevard

Bridgette Cerny, principal                                           James McCarter, assistant principal

Principal’s Secretary

Counseling Dept

275-1970

275-1974

FAX

Hunt Nurse

275-3474

275-1973

 

 

Cafeteria

275-1976

John C. French Elementary

 

611 East Prairie

 

Jennifer Bauer, principal

Principal’s Secretary

 

275-1979

 

FAX

 

275-2698

Counseling Dept

275-1982

JCF Nurse

Cafeteria

275-1981

275-1983

 

 

 

Employment

 

Equal Employment Opportunity

Policies DAA, DIA

 

The Cuero ISD does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment

because of race, color, religion, sex, “sexual orientation, or gender identity,”national origin, age, disability, military status, or on any other basis prohibited by law. Employment decisions will

be made on the basis of each applicant’s job qualifications, experience, and abilities.

 

Employees with questions or concerns about discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment should contact Pam Longbotham, the district Title IX coordinator. Employees with questions or concerns about discrimination on the basis of a disability should contact Pam Longbotham, the district ADA/Section 504 coordinator. Questions or concerns relating to discrimination for any other reason should be directed to the Superintendent.

 

 

Job Vacancy Announcements

Policy DC

 

Announcements of job vacancies by position and location are distributed on a regular basis and posted on the district’s Web site.

 

 

Employment After Retirement

Policy DC

 

Individuals receiving retirement benefits from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) may be employed under certain circumstances on a full- or part-time basis without affecting their benefits, according to TRS rules and state law. Detailed information about employment after retirement is available in the TRS publication Employment After Retirement. Employees can contact TRS for additional information by calling 800-223-8778 or 512-542-6400. Information is also available on the TRS Web Site (www.trs.texas.gov).

 

 

Contract and Noncontract Employment

Policy DC Series

 

State law requires the district to employ all full-time professional employees in positions requiring a certificate from the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and nurses under probationary, term, or continuing contracts. Employees in all other positions are employed at- will or by a contract that is not subject to the procedures for nonrenewal or termination under Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code. The paragraphs that follow provide a general description of the employment arrangements used by the district.

 

Probationary contracts. Nurses and full-time professional employees new to the district and employed in positions requiring SBEC certification must receive a probationary contract during

 

their first year of employment. Former employees who are hired after at least a two-year lapse in district employment also may be employed by probationary contract. Probationary contracts are one-year contracts. The probationary period for those who have been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of the eight years preceding employment with the district may not exceed one school year.

 

For those with less experience, the probationary period will be three school years (i.e., three one-year contracts) with an optional fourth school year if the board determines it is doubtful whether a term or continuing contract should be given.

 

Term Contracts. Full-time professionals employed in positions requiring certification and nurses will be employed by term contracts after they have successfully completed the probationary period. The terms and conditions of employment are detailed in the contract and employment policies. All employees will receive a copy of their contract. Employment policies can be accessed online or copies will be provided upon request.

 

Noncertified professional and administrative employees. Employees in professional and administrative positions that do not require SBEC certification (such as noninstructional administrators) are employed by a one-year contract that is not subject to the provisions for nonrenewal or termination under the Texas Education Code.

 

Paraprofessional and auxiliary employees. All paraprofessional and auxiliary employees, regardless of certification, are employed at will and not by contract. Employment is not for any specified term and may be terminated at any time by either the employee or the district.

 

 

 

Certification and Licenses

Policies DBA, DF

 

Professional employees whose positions require SBEC certification or professional license are responsible for taking actions to ensure their credentials do not lapse. Employees must submit documentation that they have passed the required certification exam and/or obtained or renewed their credentials to the Superintendent’s office in a timely manner.

 

A certified employee’s contract may be voided without due process and employment terminated if the individual does not hold a valid certificate or fails to fulfill the requirements necessary to renew or extend a temporary certificate, emergency certificate, probationary certificate, or permit. A contract may also be voided if SBEC suspends or revokes certification because of an individual’s failure to comply with criminal history background checks. Contact the Superintendent’s office if you have any questions regarding certification or licensure requirements.

 

Recertification of Employment Authorization

Policy DC

At the time of hire, all employees must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form

(Form I-9) and present documents to verify identity and employment authorization.

 

Employees whose immigration status, employment authorization, or employment authorization documents have expired must present new documents that show current employment authorization. Employees should file the necessary application or petition sufficiently in

advance to ensure that they maintain continuous employment authorization or valid employment authorization documents. Contact the superintendent’s office if you have any questions

regarding reverification of employment authorization.

 

Searches and Alcohol and Drug Testing

Policy DHE

 

Noninvestigatory searches in the workplace, including accessing an employee’s desk, file cabinets, or work area to obtain information needed for usual business purposes may occur when an employee is unavailable. Therefore, employees are hereby notified that they have no legitimate expectation of privacy in those places. In addition, the district reserves the right to conduct searches when there is reasonable cause to believe a search will uncover evidence of work-related misconduct. Such an investigatory search may include drug and alcohol testing if the suspected violation relates to drug or alcohol use. The district may search the employee, the employee’s personal items, work areas, including district-owned technology resources, lockers, and private vehicles parked on district premises or work sites or used in district business.

 

Employees Required to Have a Commercial Driver’s License: Any employee whose duties require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is subject to drug and alcohol testing. This includes all drivers who operate a motor vehicle designed to transport 16 or more people, counting the driver; drivers of large vehicles; or drivers of vehicles used in the transportation of hazardous materials. Teachers, coaches, or other employees who primarily perform duties other than driving are subject to testing requirements when their duties include driving.

 

Drug testing will be conducted before an individual assumes driving responsibilities. Alcohol and drug tests will be conducted if reasonable suspicion exists, at random, when an employee returns to duty after engaging in prohibited conduct, and as a follow-up measure. Testing may be conducted following accidents. Return-to-duty and follow-up testing will be conducted if an employee who has violated the prohibited alcohol conduct standards or tested positive for alcohol or drugs is allowed to return to duty.

 

All employees required to have a CDL or who is otherwise subject to alcohol and drug testing will receive a copy of the district’s policy, the testing requirements, and detailed information on alcohol and drug abuse and the availability of assistance programs.

 

Employees with questions or concerns relating to alcohol and drug testing policies and related educational material should contact Wanda Hays at 361-275-1900 ext 117.

 

 

 

Health Safety Training

Policies DBA, DMA

 

Certain employees who are involved in physical activities for students must maintain and submit to the district proof of current certification or training in first aid, cardiopulmonary

 

resuscitation (CPR), STOP the BLEED training, the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), and extracurricular athletic activity safety. Certification or documentation of training must be issued by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, University Interscholastic League, or another organization that provides equivalent training and certification. Employees subject to this requirement must submit their certification or documentation to the District Nurse  and the Superintendent’s office within 10 days of receipt. (reference Policy DMA (LEGAL))

 

 

Reassignments and Transfers

Policy DK

 

All personnel are subject to assignment and reassignment by the superintendent or designee when the superintendent or designee determines that the assignment or reassignment is in the best interest of the district. Reassignment is a transfer to another position, department, or facility that does not necessitate a change in the employment contract. Campus reassignments must be approved by the principal at the receiving campus except when reassignments are due to enrollment shifts or program changes. Extracurricular or supplemental duty assignments may be reassigned at any time unless an extracurricular or supplemental duty assignment is part of a

dual-assignment contract. Employees who object to a reassignment may follow the district

process for employee complaints as outlined in this handbook and district policy DGBA (Local).

 

An employee with the required qualifications for a position may request a transfer to another campus or department. A written request for transfer must be completed and signed by the employee and the employee’s supervisor. A teacher requesting a transfer to another campus before the school year begins must submit their request by March 1, prior to renewal of contracts. Requests for transfer during the school year will be considered only when the change will not adversely affect students and after a replacement has been found. All transfer requests will be coordinated by the superintendent’s office and must be approved by the receiving supervisor.

 

 

Workload and Work Schedules

Policies DEAB, DK, DL

 

Professional employees. Professional and administrative employees are exempt from overtime pay and are employed on a 10-, 11-, or 12-month basis, according to the work schedules set by the district. A school calendar is adopted each year designating the work schedule for teachers and all school holidays. Notice of work schedules including required days of service and scheduled holidays will be distributed each school year.

 

Campus hours of operation will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except for John C. French which will be from 7:40 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.  Faculty and staff are expected to be on their assigned campus during these hours.                                      All staff are expected to sign in each day with their principal, director, or supervisor. All staff are expected to sign out when they leave their assigned campus and sign back in when they return.

 

Extra duty (pay) will not begin until after 4:00 p.m.

 

 

Classroom teachers will have planning periods for instructional preparation, including conferences. The schedule of planning periods is set at the campus level but must provide at

least 450 minutes within each two-week period in blocks not less than 45 minutes. Teachers and librarians are entitled to a duty-free lunch period of at least 30 minutes. The district may require

teachers to supervise students during lunch one day a week when no other personnel are available.

 

Paraprofessional and auxiliary employees. Support employees are employed at will and receive notification of the required duty days, holidays, and hours of work for their position on an annual basis. Paraprofessional and auxiliary employees must be compensated for  overtime and are not authorized to work in excess of their assigned schedule without prior approval from their supervisor.

 

Breaks for Expression of Breast Milk

Policies DEAB, DG

 

The district supports the practice of expressing breast milk and makes reasonable accommodations for the needs of employees who express breast milk. A place, other than a multiple user bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from other employees and the public where the employee can express breast milk will be provided.

 

A reasonable amount of break time will be provided when the employee has a need to express milk. For nonexempt employees, these breaks are unpaid and are not counted as hours worked. Employees should meet with their supervisor to discuss their needs and arrange break times.

 

Notification of Parents Regarding Qualifications

Policies DK, DBA

 

In schools receiving Title I funds, the district is required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)to notify parents at the beginning of each school year that they may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s teacher. ESSA also requires that

parents be notified if their child has been assigned, or taught for four or more consecutive weeks

by, a teacher who  Does not meet applicable state certification or licensure requirements.

 

Texas law also requires that parents be notified if their child is assigned for more than 30 consecutive instructional days to a teacher who does not hold an appropriate teaching certificate. This notice is not required if parental notice under ESSA is sent. Inappropriately certified or uncertified teachers include individuals serving with an emergency permit (including

individuals waiting to take the EXCET exam) or individuals who do not hold any certificate or permit. Information relating to teacher certification will be made available to the public upon request.

 

Employees who have questions about their certification status can call the Superintendent’s office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside Employment and Tutoring

Policy DBD

 

Employees are required to disclose in writing to their immediate supervisor any outside employment that may create a potential conflict of interest with their assigned duties and responsibilities or the best interest of the district. Supervisors will consider outside employment on a case-by-case basis and determine whether it should be prohibited because of a conflict of interest.

 

 

Performance Evaluation

Policies DN series

 

Evaluation of an employee’s job performance is a continuous process that focuses on improvement. Performance evaluation is based on an employee’s assigned job duties and other job-related criteria. All employees will participate in the evaluation process with their assigned supervisor at least annually. Written evaluations will be completed on forms approved by the district. Reports, correspondence, and memoranda also can be used to document performance information. All employees will receive a copy of their written evaluation, participate in a performance conference with their supervisor, and get the opportunity to respond to the evaluation.

 

 

Employee Involvement

Policies BQA, BQB

 

At both the campus and district levels, Cuero ISD offers opportunities for input in matters that affect employees and influence the instructional effectiveness of the district. As part of the district’s planning and decision-making process, employees are elected to serve on district- or campus-level advisory committees. Plans and detailed information about the shared decision- making process are available in each campus office or from the superintendent’s office.

 

 

Staff Development

Policy DMA

 

Staff development activities are organized to meet the needs of employees and the district. Staff development for instructional personnel is predominantly campus-based, related to achieving campus performance objectives, addressed in the campus improvement plan, and approved by a campus-level advisory committee. Staff development for noninstructional personnel is designed to meet specific licensing requirements (e.g., bus drivers) and continued employee skill development.

 

Individuals holding renewable SBEC certificates are responsible for obtaining the required training hours and maintaining appropriate documentation.

 

Compensation and Benefits

 

 

Salaries, Wages, and Stipends

Policies DEA, DEAA

 

Employees are paid in accordance with administrative guidelines and an established pay structure. The district’s pay plans are reviewed by the administration each year and adjusted as needed. All district positions are classified as exempt or nonexempt according to federal law. Professional and administrative employees are generally classified as exempt and are paid monthly salaries. They are not entitled to overtime compensation. Other employees are generally classified as nonexempt and are paid an hourly wage or salary and receive compensatory time or overtime pay for each overtime hour worked beyond 40 in a workweek. (See Overtime Compensation.)

 

All employees will receive written notice of their pay and work schedules before the start of each school year. Classroom teachers, full-time librarians, full-time nurses, and full-time counselors will be paid no less than the minimum state salary schedule. Contract employees who perform extracurricular or supplemental duties may be paid a stipend in addition to their salary according to the district’s extra-duty pay schedule.

 

Employees should contact the payroll department for more information about the district’s pay schedules or their own pay.

 

 

Annualized Compensation

Policy DEA

 

The District shall pay all salaried employees over 12 months, regardless of the number of months employed during the school year. A salaried employee shall receive his or her salary in equal monthly or bimonthly payments, beginning with the first pay period of the school year.

 

 

Paychecks

All professional, salaried, and hourly employees are paid monthly. Paychecks will not be released to any person other than the district employee named on the check without the

employee’s written authorization.

 

The schedule of pay dates for the school year follows:

 

Campus principals will be notified when checks are ready.  Release time for checks is 1:00 p.m. on the following dates:

September 25, 2020                            March 25, 2021

October 23, 2020                                April 22, 2021

November 20, 20                                May 20, 2021

December 16, 2020                             June 25, 2021

January 25, 2021                               July 23, 2021

February 25, 2021                              August 25, 2021

 

Automatic Payroll Deposit

 

Employees can have their paychecks electronically deposited into a designated account. A notification period of 30 days is necessary to activate this service. With automatic deposit, an employee’s pay is immediately available on the pay date. Contact the payroll department for more information about the automatic payroll deposit service.

 

 

Payroll Deductions

Policy CFEA

 

The district is required to make the following automatic payroll deductions:

 

•        Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) or Social Security employee contributions

•        Federal income tax

•        Medicare tax (applicable only to employees hired after March 31, 1986)

•        Child Support and spousal maintenance, if applicable

•        Delinquent federal education loan payments, if applicable

 

Other payroll deductions employees may elect include deductions for the employee’s share of premiums for health, dental, life, and vision insurance; annuities; and higher education savings plans or prepaid tuition programs. Employees also may request payroll deduction for payment

of membership dues to professional organizations. Salary deductions are automatically made for unauthorized or unpaid leave.

 

 

Overtime Compensation

Policy DEA

 

The Superintendent or designee shall determine the classification of positions or employees as “exempt” or “nonexempt” for purposes of payment of overtime in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

 

The District shall pay employees who are exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the FLSA on a salary basis. The salaries of these employees are intended to cover all hours worked, and the District shall not make deductions that are prohibited under the FLSA.

 

An employee who believes deductions have been made from his or her salary in violation of this policy should bring the matter to the District’s attention, through the District’s complaint policy. [See DGBA]  If improper deductions are confirmed, the District will reimburse the employee

and take steps to ensure future compliance with the FLSA.

 

The Superintendent or designee may assign noncontractual supplemental duties to personnel exempt under the FLSA, as needed. [See DK(LOCAL)] The employee shall be compensated for these assignments according to the District’s compensation plans.

 

Nonexempt employees may be compensated on an hourly basis or on a salary basis. Employees who are paid on an hourly basis shall be compensated for all hours worked. Employees who are paid on a salary basis are paid for a 40-hour workweek and do not earn additional pay unless the employee works more than 40 hours.

 

A nonexempt employee shall have the approval of his or her supervisor before working overtime. An employee who works overtime without prior approval is subject to discipline but shall be compensated in accordance with the FLSA.

 

At the District’s option, nonexempt employees may receive compensatory time off, rather than overtime pay, for overtime work. The employee shall be informed in advance if overtime hours will accrue compensatory time rather than pay.

 

Compensatory time earned by nonexempt employees may not accrue beyond a maximum of 60 hours.  If an employee has a balance of more than 60 hours of overtime, the employee will be required to use compensatory time or, at the District’s option, will receive overtime pay.

 

 

Travel Expense Reimbursement

Policy DEE

 

Before any travel expenses are incurred by an employee, the employee’s supervisor and budget manager must give approval. For approved travel, employees will be reimbursed for mileage and other travel expenditures according to the current rate schedule established by the district.

Employees must submit receipts, to the extent possible, to be reimbursed for allowable expenses

other than mileage within 28 days of the expense.

 

 

Health, Dental, and Life Insurance

Policy CRD

 

Group health insurance coverage is provided through TRS-ActiveCare, the statewide public school health insurance program. The district’s contribution to employee insurance premiums is determined annually by the board of trustees. Employees eligible for health insurance coverage include the following:

 

•        Employees who are active, contributing TRS members

•        Employees who are not contributing TRS members and who are employed for 10 or more regularly scheduled hours per week.

 

TRS retirees who are enrolled in TRS-Care (retiree health insurance program) are not eligible to participate in TRS-ActiveCare.

 

The insurance plan year is from September 1 through August 31. Current employees can make changes in their insurance coverage during open enrollment each year or when they experience a qualifying event (e.g. marriage, divorce, birth).  Detailed descriptions of insurance coverage, employee cost, and eligibility requirements are provided to all employees in a separate booklet. Employees should contact the District Administrative Assistant at for more information.

 

Supplemental Insurance Benefits

Policy CRD

 

At their own expense, employees may enroll in supplemental insurance programs for Section

125 plans. Premiums for these programs can be paid by payroll deduction. Employees should contact the payroll department for more information.

 

 

Cafeteria Plan Benefits (Section 125)

 

Employees may be eligible to participate in the Cafeteria Plan (Section 125) and, under IRS regulations, must either accept or reject this benefit. This plan enables eligible employees to pay certain insurance premiums on a pretax basis (i.e., disability, accidental death and dismemberment, cancer and dread disease, dental, and additional term life insurance). A third- party administrator handles employee claims made on these accounts.

 

New employees must accept or reject this benefit during their first month of employment. All employees must accept or reject this benefit on an annual basis and during the specified time period.

 

 

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Policy CRE

 

The district, in accordance with state law, provides workers’ compensation benefits to employees who suffer a work-related illness or are injured on the job. Benefits help pay for medical treatment and make up for part of the income lost while recovering. Specific benefits are prescribed by law depending on the circumstances of each case.

 

Benefits help pay for medical treatment and make up for part of the income lost while recovering. Specific benefits are prescribed by law depending on the circumstances of each case.

 

All work-related accidents or injuries should be reported immediately to the employee’s principal or supervisor. Employees who are unable to work because of a work-related injury will be notified of their rights and responsibilities under the Texas Labor Code. See Workers’ compensation benefits for information on use of paid leave for such absences.

 

Unemployment Compensation Insurance

Policy CRF

 

Employees who have been laid off or terminated through no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Employees are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits during regularly scheduled breaks in the school year or the summer months if they have employment contracts or reasonable assurance of returning to service. Employees with

questions about unemployment benefits should contact the payroll department.

 

Teacher Retirement

 

All personnel employed on a regular basis for at least four and one-half months are members of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Substitutes not receiving TRS service retirement benefits who work at least 90 days a year are eligible to purchase a year of creditable service in TRS. TRS provides members with an annual statement of their account showing all deposits and the total account balance for the year ending August 31, as well as an estimate of their retirement benefits.

 

Employees who plan to retire under TRS should notify TRS as soon as possible. Information on the application procedures for TRS benefits is available from TRS at Teacher Retirement System of Texas, 1000 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701-2698, or call 800-223-8778 or 512-

542-6400. TRS information is also available on the Web (www.trs.texas.gov). See information on restrictions of employment of retirees in Texas public schools.

 

Leaves and Absences

Policy DEC

 

The district offers employees paid and unpaid leaves of absence in times of personal need. This handbook describes the basic types of leave available and restrictions on leaves of absence. Employees who expect to be absent for an extended period of more than five days should call the superintendent’s office at 361-275-3832 for information about applicable leave benefits, payment of insurance premiums, and requirements for communicating with the district.

 

Use of Leave. Leave is available for the employee’s use at the beginning of the school year. However, state personal and local leave is earned at a rate of ½ day for every 18 days of employment. If an employee leaves the district before the end of the work year, the cost of any unearned leave days taken shall be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck.

 

Paid leave must be used in half-day increments. Earned comp time must be used before any available paid state and local leave. Unless an employee requests a different order, available paid state and local leave will be used in the following order:

 

•    Local leave.

•    State sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year.

•    State personal leave.

 

Immediate Family. For purposes of leave other than family and medical leave, immediate family is defined as the following:

• Spouse

• Son or daughter, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, a son- or daughter-in-law, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis.

• Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the employee.

• Sibling, stepsibling, and sibling-in-law

• Grandparent and grandchild

• Any person residing in the employee’s household at the time of illness or death

 

For purposes of family and medical leave, the definition of family is limited to spouse, parent, son or daughter, and next of kin. The definition of these are found in Policy DECA (LEGAL).

 

Medical Certification.

Employees must follow district and department or campus procedures to report or request any

leave of absence and complete the appropriate form or medical certification. Any employee who is absent more than 5 (five) days because of a personal or family illness must submit a medical certification from a qualified health care provider confirming the specific dates of the illness, the reason for the illness, and—in the case of personal illness—the employee’s fitness to return to work.

 

An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:

 

1.     The employee is absent more than five consecutive workdays because of personal illness or illness in the immediate family;

 

2.     The District requires medical certification due to a questionable pattern of absences or when deemed necessary by the supervisor or Superintendent;

 

3.     The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee’s serious health condition or that of a spouse, parent, or child; or

 

4.     The employee requests FMLA leave for military caregiver purposes.

 

In each case, medical certification shall be made by a health-care provider as defined by the

FMLA.  [See DECA(LEGAL)]

 

 

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits covered

employers from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member

of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. To comply with this law, we ask that employees and health care providers do not provide any genetic information in any medical certification. ‘Genetic information,’ as defined by GINA, includes an individual’s family medical history, the results of an individual’s or family member’s genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual’s family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual’s family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.

 

Continuation of Health Insurance. Employees on an approved leave of absence other than family and medical leave may continue their insurance benefits at their own expense. Health insurance benefits for employees on paid leave and leave designated under the Family and Medical Leave Act will be paid by the district as they were prior to the leave. Otherwise, the district does not pay any portion of insurance premiums for employees who are on unpaid leave.

 

Under TRS-Active Care rules, an employee is no longer eligible for insurance through the district after six months of unpaid leave other than FML. If an employee’s unpaid leave extends for more than six months, the district will provide the employee with notice of COBRA rights.

 

 

Personal Leave

 

State law entitles all employees to five days of paid personal leave per year. Personal leave is available for use at the beginning of the year. A day of earned personal leave is equivalent to the number of hours per day in an employee’s usual assignment, whether full-time or part-time.

State personal leave accumulates without limit, is transferable to other Texas school districts, and generally transfers to education service centers. Personal leave may be used for two general purposes: nondiscretionary and discretionary.

 

Nondiscretionary. Leave taken for personal or family illness, family emergency, a death in the family, or active military service is considered nondiscretionary leave. Reasons for this type of leave allow very little, if any, advance planning. Nondiscretionary may be used in the same manner as state sick leave.

 

Discretionary. Leave taken at an employee’s discretion that can be scheduled in advance is considered discretionary leave. An employee wishing to take discretionary personal leave must submit a request to his or her principal or supervisor 3 days in advance of the anticipated absence. The effect of the employee’s absence on the educational program or department operations, as well as the availability of substitutes, will be considered by the principal or supervisor.

 

Leave Proration. If an employee separates from employment with the district before his or her last duty day of the year, or begins employment after the first duty day, state personal leave will be prorated based on the actual time employed. When an employee separates from employment before the last duty day of the school year, the employee’s final paycheck will be reduced by the amount of state personal leave the employee used beyond his or her pro rata entitlement for the school year.

 

 

State Sick Leave

 

State sick leave accumulated before 1995 is available for use and may be transferred to other school districts in Texas.  State sick leave can be used only in half or whole day increments except when coordinated with family and medical leave taken on an intermittent or reduced- schedule basis or when coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits.

 

Sick leave may be used for the following reasons only:

 

•        Employee illness

•        Illness in the employee’s immediate family

•        Family emergency (i.e., natural disasters or life-threatening situations)

•        Death in the immediate family

•        Active military service

 

 

Local Leave

 

All employees shall earn three workdays of paid local leave per school year in accordance with administrative regulations.

 

Local leave shall accumulate without limit. Local leave shall be used according to the terms and conditions of state personal leave.

 

Temporary Leave

 

If an employee needs to temporarily leave their assigned job responsibilities, the employee will not be docked if the following is met:

 

1.   The absence must be approved by the immediate supervisor; and the absence must be for a doctor's appointment, a quick errand, or where a local office is closed outside regular school hours.

2.  This type of occurrence is not habitual or found to be on a regular basis

 

Cuero ISD is a community of educators who support one another. From time to time, emergency situations arise which may briefly take an employee away from their teaching assignment.  Employees may request emergency coverage for their classroom in half hour increments, up to four full hours, without registering the leave in the absence management system.  On site coverage is considered required regardless of whether an employee has students in their charge during the period of absence from their work assignment. Once an employee accumulates four hours of emergency leave, all future occurrences will require the employee to record their time off in the absence management system.

 

Sick Leave Bank

Policy DEC(LOCAL)

 

Please see DEC(LOCAL) for information on the sick leave bank that describes the following:

•    Purpose and General Description

•    Eligibility

•    Enrollment Procedures

•    Qualifying Conditions

•    Procedures for Requesting Leave

 

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—General Provisions

 

 

The following text is from the federal notice, Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Specific information that the district has adopted to implement the FMLA follows this general notice.

 

Leave Entitlements

Eligible employees who work for a covered employer can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-

protected leave in a 12-month period for the following reasons:

• The birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care;

• To bond with a child (leave must be taken within 1 year of the child’s birth or placement);

• To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a qualifying serious health

condition;

• For the employee’s own qualifying serious health condition that makes the employee unable to

perform the employee’s job;

• For qualifying exigencies related to the foreign deployment of a military member who is the

employee’s spouse, child, or parent.

 

An eligible employee who is a covered servicemember’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin may also take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a single 12-month period to care for the servicemember with a serious injury or illness.

 

An employee does not need to use leave in one block. When it is medically neces-sary or otherwise permitted, employees may take leave intermittently or on a re-duced schedule.

 

Employees may choose, or an employer may require, use of accrued paid leave while taking FMLA leave. If an employee substitutes accrued paid leave for FMLA leave, the employee must comply with the employer’s normal paid leave policies.

 

Benefits and Protections

While employees are on FMLA leave, employers must continue health insurance cover-age as if the employees were not on leave.

 

Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to the same job or one nearly identical to it with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms and con-ditions.

 

An employer may not interfere with an individual’s FMLA rights or retaliate against some-one for using or trying to use FMLA leave, opposing any practice made unlawful by the FMLA, or being involved in any proceeding under or related to the FMLA.

 

Eligibility Requirements

An employee who works for a covered employer must meet three criteria in order to be eligible

for FMLA leave. The employee must:

• Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months;

• Have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12 months before taking leave;* and

• Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the

employee’s worksite.

 

*Special hours of service eligibility requirements apply to airline flight crew employees.

 

Requesting Leave

Generally, employees must give 30-days’ advance notice of the need for FMLA leave. If it is

not possible to give 30-days’ notice, an employee must notify the employer as soon as possible and, generally, follow the employer’s usual procedures.

 

Employees do not have to share a medical diagnosis, but must provide enough infor-mation to the employer so it can determine if the leave qualifies for FMLA protection.

 

Sufficient information could include informing an employer that the employee is or will be unable to perform his or her job functions, that a family member cannot perform daily activities, or that hospitalization or continuing medical treatment is necessary. Employees must inform the employer if the need for leave is for a reason for which FMLA leave was previously taken or certified.

 

Employers can require a certification or periodic recertification supporting the need for leave. If the employer determines that the certification is incomplete, it must provide a written notice indicating what additional information is required.

 

Employer Responsibilities

Once an employer becomes aware that an employee’s need for leave is for a reason that may

qualify under the FMLA, the employer must notify the employee if he or she is eligible for

 

FMLA leave and, if eligible, must also provide a notice of rights and responsibilities under the

FMLA. If the employee is not eligible, the employer must provide a reason for ineligibility.

 

Employers must notify its employees if leave will be designated as FMLA leave, and if so, how much leave will be designated as FMLA leave.

 

Enforcement

Employees may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, or may bring a private lawsuit against an employer.

The FMLA does not affect any federal or state law prohibiting discrimination or supersede any state or local law or collective bargaining agreement that provides greater fam-ily or medical

leave rights.

 

For additional information:

1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243) TTY: 1-877-889-5627

www.wagehour.dol.gov

 

 

 

Local Family and Medical Leave Provisions

 

 

Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the 12-month period measured forward from the date an individual employee’s first FML begins.

 

Use of paid leave. FML runs concurrently with accrued sick and personal leave, temporary disability leave, compensatory time, assault leave, and absences due to a work-related illness or injury. The district will designate the leave as FML, if applicable, and notify the employee that accumulated leave will run concurrently.

 

Combined leave for spouses. Spouses who are employed by the district

are limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of FML to care for a parent with a

serious health condition; or for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Military caregiver leave for spouses is limited to a combined total of 26 weeks.

 

Intermittent leave. When medically necessary or in the case of a qualifying exigency, an employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule. The district does not permit the use of intermittent or reduced-schedule leave for the care of a newborn child or for adoption or placement of a child with the employee.

 

Fitness for Duty. An employee that takes FML due to the employee’s own serious health condition shall provide, before resuming work, a fitness-for-duty certification from the health care provider. If certification of the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions is required, the district shall provide a list of essential job functions (e.g., job description) to the employee with the FML designation notice to share with the health care provider.

 

Reinstatement. An employee returning to work at the end of FML will be returned to the same position held when the leave began or to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

 

 

In certain cases, instructional employees desiring to return to work at or near the conclusion of a semester may be required to continue on family and medical leave until the end of the semester. The additional time off is not counted against the employee’s FML entitlement, and the district will maintain the employees group health insurance and reinstate the employee at the end of the leave according the procedures outlined in policy (see DECA (LEGAL)).

 

Failure to Return. If, at the expiration of FML, the employee is able to return to work but chooses not to do so, the district may require the employee to reimburse the district’s share of insurance premiums paid during any portion of FML when the employee was on unpaid leave. If the employee fails to return to work for a reason be-yond the employee’s control, such as a continuing personal or family serious health condition or a spouse being unexpectedly transferred more than 75 miles from the district, the district may not require the employee to reimburse the district’s share of premiums paid.

 

District contact. Employees that require FML or have questions should contact the superintendent’s office for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.

 

Temporary Disability Leave

 

Certified employees. Any full-time employee whose position requires certification from the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is eligible for temporary disability leave. The purpose of temporary disability leave is to provide job protection to full-time educators who cannot work for an extended period of time because of a mental or physical disability of a temporary nature. A full-time educator may request to be placed on temporary disability leave or be placed on leave. Pregnancy and conditions related to pregnancy are treated the same as any other temporary disability.

 

Employees must request approval for temporary disability leave. The leave request must be accompanied by a physician’s statement confirming the employee’s inability to work and estimating a probable date of return. If disability leave is approved, the length of leave is no longer than 180 days. If disability leave is not approved, the employee must return to work or be subject to termination procedures.

 

If an employee is placed on temporary disability leave involuntarily, he or she has the right to request a hearing before the board of trustees. The employee may protest the action and present additional evidence of fitness to work.

 

When an employee is ready to return to work, the superintendent’s office should be notified at least 30 days in advance. The return-to-work notice must be accompanied by a physician’s statement confirming that the employee is able to resume regular duties. Professional employees returning from leave will be reinstated to the school to which they were previously assigned as soon as an appropriate position is available. If a position is not available before the end of the school year, professional employees will be reinstated at the beginning of the following school year.

 

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

 

An employee absent from duty because of a job-related illness or injury may be eligible for workers’ compensation weekly income benefits if the absence exceeds seven calendar days.

 

An employee receiving workers’ compensation wage benefits for a job-related illness or injury may choose to use available, partial-day increments of sick leave or any other paid leave benefits to make up the difference between wage benefits and pre-injury or –illness wages. While an employee is receiving workers’ compensation wage benefits, the district will charge

available leave proportionately so that the employee receives an amount equal to the employee’s

regular salary.

 

Assault Leave

 

Assault leave provides extended job income and benefits protection to an employee who is injured as the result of a physical assault suffered during the performance of his or her job.  An incident involving an assault is a work-related injury, and should be immediately reported to their immediate supervisor.

 

An injury is treated as an assault if the person causing the injury could be prosecuted for assault or could not be prosecuted only because that person’s age or mental capacity renders the person non-responsible for purposes of criminal liability.

 

An employee who is physically assaulted at work may take all the leave time medically necessary (up to two years) to recover from the physical injuries he or she sustained. At the request of an employee, the district will immediately assign the employee to assault leave. Days of leave granted under the assault leave provision will not be deducted from accrued personal leave and must be coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits. Upon investigation the district may change the assault leave status and charge leave used against the employee’s accrued paid leave. The employee’s pay will be deducted if accrued paid leave is not available.

 

 

Jury Duty

The district provides paid leave to employees who are summoned to jury duty. Employees who report to the court for jury duty may keep any compensation the court provides. An employee should report a summons for jury duty to his or her supervisor as soon as it is received and may be required to provide the district a copy of the sum-mons to document the need for leave.

 

An employee may be required to report back to work as soon as they are released from jury duty. The supervisor may consider the travel time required and the nature of the individual’s position when determining the need to report to work. A copy of the release from jury duty or of documentation of time spent at the court may be required.

 

 

Compliance with a Subpoena

Employees will be granted paid leave to comply with a valid subpoena to appear in a civil, criminal, legislative, or administrative proceeding. Employees may be required to submit

documentation of their need for leave for court appearances.

 

 

Truancy Court Appearances

An employee who is a parent, guardian of a child, or a court-appointed guardian ad litem of a child who is required to miss work to attend a truancy court hearing may use personal leave or

compensatory time for the absence. Employees who do not have paid leave available will be docked for any absence required because of the court appearance.

 

Religious Observance

The district will reasonably accommodate an employee’s request for absence for a religious holiday or observance. Accommodations such as changes to work schedules or approving a day

of absence will be made unless they pose an undue hardship to the district. The employee may

use any accumulated personal leave for this purpose. Employees who have exhausted applicable paid leave may be granted an unpaid day of absence.

 

 

 

Military Leave

 

Paid Leave for Military Service. Any employee who is a member of the Texas National Guard, Texas State Guard, reserve component of the United States Armed Forces, or a memer of a state or federally authorized Urban Search and Rescue Team is entitled to paid leave when engaged in authorized training or duty order by proper authority. Paid military leave is limited to 15 days each fiscal year. In addition, an employee is entitled to use available state and local personal or sick leave during a time of active military service.

 

Reemployment after Military Leave. Employees who leave the district to enter into the United States uniformed services or who are ordered to active duty as a member of the military force of any state (e.g., National or State Guard) may return to employment if they are honorably discharged. Employees who wish to return to the district will be reemployed provided they can be qualified to perform the required duties. Employees returning to work following military

leave should contact the superintendent’s office and the payroll clerk. In most cases, the length of federal military service cannot exceed five years.

 

Continuation of Health Insurance. Employees who perform service in the uniformed services may elect to continue their health plan coverage at their own cost for a period not to exceed 24 months. Employees should contact the District Administraive Assistant for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.

 

Employee Relations and Communications

 

 

Employee Recognition and Appreciation

 

Continuous efforts are made throughout the year to recognize employees who make an extra effort to contribute to the success of the district. Employees are recognized at board meetings, in the district newsletter, and through special events and activities.

 

 

District Communications

 

Throughout the school year, the superintendent’s office publishes newsletters, brochures, fliers, calendars, news releases, and other communication materials. These publications offer employees and the community information pertaining to school activities and achievements.

 

Complaints and Grievances

Policy DGBA

 

In an effort to hear and resolve employee concerns or complaints in a timely manner and at the lowest administrative level possible, the board has adopted an orderly grievance process. Employees are encouraged to discuss their concerns or complaints with their supervisors or an appropriate administrator at any time.

 

The formal process provides all employees with an opportunity to be heard up to the highest level of management if they are dissatisfied with an administrative response. Once all administrative procedures are exhausted, employees can bring concerns or complaints to the board of trustees. For ease of reference, the district’s policy concerning the process of bringing concerns and complaints is reprinted as follows:

.

Employee Conduct and Welfare

 

Standards of Conduct

Policy DH

 

All employees are expected to work together in a cooperative spirit to serve the best interests of the district and to be courteous to students, one another, and the public. Employees are expected to observe the following standards of conduct:

 

•        Recognize and respect the rights of students, parents, other employees, and members of the community.

•        Maintain confidentiality in all matters relating to students and coworkers.

•        Report to work according to the assigned schedule.

•        Notify their immediate supervisor in advance or as early as possible in the event that they must be absent or late. Unauthorized absences, chronic absenteeism, tardiness, and failure to follow procedures for reporting an absence may because for disciplinary action.

•        Know and comply with department and district policies and procedures.

 

•        Express concerns, complaints, or criticism through appropriate channels.

•        Observe all safety rules and regulations and report injuries or unsafe conditions to a supervisor immediately.

•        Use district time, funds, and property for authorized district business and activities only.

 

All district employees should perform their duties in accordance with state and federal law, district policies and procedures, and ethical standards. Violation of policies, regulations, or guidelines may result in disciplinary action, including termination. Alleged incidents of certain misconduct by educators, including having a criminal record, must be reported to SBEC not

later than the seventh day after the superintendent knew of the incident. See Reports to the State

Board for Educator Certification for additional information.

 

The Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators, adopted by the State Board for

Educator Certification, which all district employees must adhere to, is reprinted below:

 

 

Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics

 

The Texas educator shall comply with standard practices and ethical conduct toward students, professional colleagues, school officials, parents, and members of the community and shall safeguard academic freedom. The Texas educator, in maintaining the dignity of the profession, shall respect and obey the law, demonstrate personal integrity, and exemplify honesty. The Texas educator, in exemplifying ethical relations with colleagues, shall extend just and equitable treatment to all members of the profession. The Texas educator, in accepting a position of public trust, shall measure success by the progress of each student toward realization of his or her potential as an effective citizen. The Texas educator, in fulfilling responsibilities in the community, shall cooperate with parents and others to improve the public schools of the community. 19 TAC 247.1

 

1.     Professional Ethical Conduct, Practices, and Performance

 

Standard 1.1. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engage in deceptive practices regarding official policies of the school district, educational institution, educator preparation program, the Texas Education Agency, or the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and its certification process.

 

Standard 1.2. The educator shall not knowingly misappropriate, divert, or use monies, personnel, property, or equipment committed to his or her charge for personal gain or advantage.

Standard 1.3. The educator shall not submit fraudulent requests for reimbursement, expenses, or pay. Standard 1.4. The educator shall not use institutional or professional privileges for personal or partisan

advantage.

 

Standard 1.5. The educator shall neither accept nor offer gratuities, gifts, or favors that impair professional judgment or to obtain special advantage. This standard shall not restrict the acceptance of gifts or tokens offered and accepted openly from students, parents of students, or other persons or organizations in recognition or appreciation of service.

 

Standard 1.6. The educator shall not falsify records, or direct or coerce others to do so.

 

Standard 1.7. The educator shall comply with state regulations, written local school board policies, and other state and federal laws.

 

Standard 1.8. The educator shall apply for, accept, offer, or assign a position or a responsibility on the basis of professional qualifications.

 

Standard 1.9. The educator shall not make threats of violence against school district employees, school board members, students, or parents of students.

 

Standard 1.10. The educator shall be of good moral character and be worthy to instruct or supervise the youth of this state.

 

Standard 1.11. The educator shall not intentionally or knowingly misrepresent his or her employment history, criminal history, and/or disciplinary record when applying for subsequent employment.

 

Standard 1.12. The educator shall refrain from the illegal use or distribution of controlled substances and/or abuse of prescription drugs and toxic inhalants.

 

Standard 1.13. The educator shall not be under the influence of alcohol or consume alcoholic beverages on school property or during school activities when students are present.

 

Standard 1.14. The educator shall not assist another educator, school employee, contractor, or agent in obtaining a new job as an educator or in a school, apart from the routine transmission of administrative and personnel files, if the educator knows or has probable cause to believe that such person engaged in sexual misconduct regarding a minor or student in violation of the law.

 

2.     Ethical Conduct Toward Professional Colleagues

 

Standard 2.1. The educator shall not reveal confidential health or personnel information concerning colleagues unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.

 

Standard 2.2. The educator shall not harm others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system.

 

Standard 2.3. The educator shall adhere to written local school board policies and state and federal laws regarding the hiring, evaluation, and dismissal of personnel.

 

Standard 2.4. The educator shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political, professional, or citizenship rights and responsibilities.

 

Standard 2.5. The educator shall not discriminate against or coerce a colleague on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, disability, family status, or sexual orientation.

 

Standard 2.6. The educator shall not use coercive means or promise of special treatment in order to influence professional decisions or colleagues.

 

Standard 2.7. The educator shall not retaliate against any individual who has filed a complaint with the SBEC

or who provides information for a disciplinary investigation or proceeding under this chapter.

 

3.     Ethical Conduct Toward Students

 

Standard 3.1. The educator shall not reveal confidential information concerning students unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.

 

Standard 3.2. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly treat a student or minor in a manner that adversely affects or endangers the learning, physical health, mental health, or safety of the student or minor.

 

Standard 3.3. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misrepresent facts regarding a student.

 

Standard 3.4. The educator shall not exclude a student from participation in a program, deny benefits to a student, or grant an advantage to a student on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, national origin, religion, family status, or sexual orientation.

 

Standard 3.5. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engage in physical mistreatment, neglect, or abuse of a student or minor.

 

Standard 3.6. The educator shall not solicit or engage in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student or minor.

 

Standard 3.7. The educator shall not furnish alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any person under 21 years of age unless the educator is a parent or guardian of that child or knowingly allow any person under 21 years of age unless the educator is a parent or guardian of that child to consume alcohol or illegal/unauthorized drugs in the presence of the educator.

 

Standard 3.8. The educator shall maintain appropriate professional educator-student relationships and boundaries based on a reasonably prudent educator standard.

 

Standard 3.9. The educator shall refrain from inappropriate communication with a student or minor, including, but not limited to, electronic communication such as cell phone, text messaging, e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, or other social network communication. Factors that may be considered in assessing whether the communication is inappropriate include, but are not limited to:

 

a.      The nature, purpose, timing, and amount of the communication;

 

b.     The subject matter of the communication;

 

c.      Whether the communication was made openly or the educator attempted to conceal the communication;

 

d.     Whether the communication could be reasonably interpreted as soliciting sexual contact or a romantic relationship;

 

e.      Whether the communication was sexually explicit; and

 

f.      Whether the communication involved discussion(s) of the physical or sexual attractiveness or the sexual history, activities, preferences, or fantasies of either the educator or the student.

 

19 TAC 247.2

 

 

Employee Dress Code

 

Our district believes that an employee’s personal appearance has a direct correlation with an atmosphere of professionalism and efficiency. Cuero ISD employees are expected to come to work neatly dressed and well groomed. Employees should dress so that impressions of them and our district are favorable. Visitors to any campus will easily distinguish the teachers from the students.

 

 

 

MASKS

To create a safe environment for CISD staff and students, CDC recommendations for face coverings will be followed. All staff and students will utilize face coverings when moving

 

through hallways and while in common areas including restrooms, gyms, libraries, computer labs, cafeteria, etc. Face coverings will also be utilized to the greatest extent possible in the regular classroom setting. If social distancing can be achieved or partitions are in place masks may be removed.

 

For the purposes of this document, masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth. Face shields may be superior to cloth face coverings in many circumstances, given improved ability to see mouth movements and improved air circulation.

 

 

It may be impractical for students to wear masks or face shields while participating in some activities. Schools may, for example, allow students who are actively exercising to remove masks or face shields, as long as they maintain at least six feet of distance from other students and staff who are not wearing masks or face shields.

 

 

Facemasks may be any color or design, but may NOT depict alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sexually- related, offensive, or inappropriate for the school setting images or language. Principals have sole discretion of what is inappropriate.

 

Students and staff will be responsible for their own facial coverings.

 

Employees should maintain modest and businesslike appearance at all times. Each employee’s immediate supervisor and/or the district superintendent will determine the appropriateness of employee dress and grooming for specific employee classifications/duties.

 

 

 

•    Flip-flops and house shoes may not be worn unless for a designated day. Sandals with a secure back may be worn, without a back is a hazard. * unless a doctor’s excuse is filed

•    Tights, leggings, and jeggings may only be worn as under clothes.

•    Hair should be neat and clean natural color.

•    Piercings are limited to ears only for female employees only.

•    Facial hair beards, goatees, mustaches are acceptable. Facial hair must be groomed, not excessive in length or unprofessional in length or design.

•    Vulgar, obscene or distracting tattoos must be covered.

•    Pants with holes/tears may not be worn.

•    Jeans are appropriate for employees only on designated days; i.e. Every Wednesday

college shirt/jeans, Gobbler Spirit every Thursdays, and Fridays.

*SCHOOL APPROVED SHIRTS*

•    Only the nursing staff will be allowed to wear scrub uniforms

 

Jeans for life skills is a campus decision.

 

Maintenance, grounds, janitorial, cafeteria, and transportation will have slight changes as appropriate to their departments. Example: Trans. and Cafe. may say only oil resistant slip proof shoes may be worn. Or Maintenance steel toe boots and school provided uniform only, etc.

 

 

Personal Communication Devices

 

 

Employees are permitted to possess cell phones and/or paging devices while on duty. However, cell phones and paging devices must remain in a vibrate-type mode during all instructional periods.  Cell phones may only be used before school, during lunch, conference periods, and after school. If an employee has extenuating and/or emergency situations, prior arrangements must be made with the principal/supervisor’s office. Phones should not be used during instructional times.

 

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Policies DH, DIA

 

Employees shall not engage in prohibited harassment, including sexual harassment, of other employees, unpaid interns, student teachers, or students. While acting in the course of their employment, employees shall not engage in prohibited harassment of other persons, including board members, vendors, contractors, volunteers, or parents. A substantiated charge of harassment will result in disciplinary action.

 

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated or retaliated against or harassed are encouraged to promptly report such incidents to the campus principal, supervisor, or appropriate district official. If the campus principal, supervisor, or district official is the subject of a complaint, the complaint should be made directly to the superintendent. A complaint against the superintendent may be made directly to the board.

 

The district’s policy that includes definitions and procedures for reporting and investigating discrimination, harassment, and retaliation is reprinted below:

 

Harassment of Students

Policies DF, DH, FFG, FFH, FFI

 

Sexual and other harassment of students by employees are forms of discrimination and are prohibited by law. Romantic or inappropriate social relationships between students and district employees are prohibited. Employees who suspect a student may have experienced prohibited harassment are obligated to report their concerns to the campus principal or other appropriate district official. All allegations of prohibited harassment or abuse of a student will be reported to the student’s parents and promptly investigated. An employee who knows of or suspects child abuse must also report his or her knowledge or suspicion to the appropriate authorities, as required by law. See Reporting suspected child abuse for additional information.

 

The district’s policy that includes definitions and procedures for reporting and investigating harassment of students is reprinted below:

 

Solicitation of a Romantic Relationship

 

“Solicitation of a romantic relationship” means deliberate or repeated acts that can be reasonably interpreted as the solicitation by an educator of a relationship with a student that is romantic in nature. A romantic relationship is often characterized by a strong emotional or sexual attachment and/or patterns of exclusivity, but does not include appropriate educator- student relationships that arise out of legitimate contexts such as familial connections or longtime acquaintance. The following acts, considered in context, may constitute prima facie evidence of the solicitation by an educator of a romantic relationship with a student:

 

1.     Behavior, gestures, expressions, or communications with a student that are unrelated to the educator’s job duties and evidence a romantic intent or interest in the student, including statements of love, affection, or attraction. Factors that may be considered in determining the romantic intent of such communications or behavior include:

 

a.     The nature of the communications; b.     The timing of the communications; c.     The extent of the communications;

d.     Whether the communications were made openly or secretly;

 

e.     The extent that the educator attempts to conceal the communications;

 

f.      If the educator claims to be counseling a student, SBEC may consider whether the educator’s job duties included counseling, whether the educator reported the subject of the counseling to the student’s guardians or to the appropriate school personnel, or, in the case of alleged abuse or neglect, whether the educator reported the abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities; and

 

g.     Any other evidence tending to show the context of the communications between educator and student.

 

2.     Making inappropriate comments about a student’s body, creating or transmitting sexually suggestive photographs or images, or encouraging the student to transmit sexually suggestive photographs or images.

 

3.     Making sexually demeaning comments to a student.

 

4.     Making comments about a student’s potential sexual performance.

 

5.     Requesting details of a student’s sexual history.

 

6.     Requesting a date, sexual contact, or any activity intended for the sexual gratification of the educator.

 

7.     Engaging in conversations regarding the sexual problems, preferences, or fantasies of either party.

 

8.     Inappropriate hugging, kissing, or excessive touching.

 

9.     Providing the student with drugs or alcohol.

 

10.   Suggestions that a romantic relationship is desired after the student graduates, including post-graduation plans for dating or marriage.

 

11.   Any other acts tending to show that the educator solicited a romantic relationship with the student.

 

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

Policies DF, DG, DH, GRA

 

All employees are required by state law to report any suspected child abuse or neglect, as defined by Texas Family Code §26.001,  to a law enforcement agency, Child Protective Services, or appropriate state agency (e.g., state agency operating, licensing, certifying, or registering a facility) within 48 hours of the event that led to the suspicion.

 

Employees are also required to make a report if they have cause to believe that an adult was a victim of abuse or neglect as a child and they determine in good faith that the disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the health and safety of another child or person with a disabillity.

 

Reports can be made to Child Protective Services or to the Texas Abuse Hotline (800-252-

5400). State law specifies that an employee may not delegate to or rely on another person or

adminsistrator to make the report.

 

Under state law, any person reporting or assisting in the investigation of reported child abuse or neglect is immune from liability unless the report is made in bad faith or with malicious intent. In addition, the district is prohibited from retaliating against an employee who, in good faith, reports child abuse or neglect or who participates in an investigation regarding an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

 

An employee’s failure to report suspected child abuse may result in prosecution as a Class A misdemeanor. In addition, a certified employee’s failure to report suspected child abuse may result in disciplinary procedures by SBEC for a violation of the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics.

 

Employees who suspect that a student has been or may be abused or neglected should also

report their concerns to the campus principal. This includes students with disabilities who are no longer minors. Employees are not required to report their concern to the principal before making a report to the appropriate agency.

 

Reporting the concern to the principal does not relieve the employee of the requirement to report it to the appropriate state agency. In addition, employees must cooperate with investigators of child abuse and neglect. Interference with a child abuse investigation by denying an interviewer’s request to interview a student at school or requiring the presence of a parent or school administrator against the desires of the duly authorized investigator is prohibited.

 

 

 

 

Sexual Abuse and Maltreatment of Children

 

 

The district has established a plan for addressing sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children, which may be accessed www.cueroisd.org. As an employee, it is important for you to be aware of warning signs that could indicate a child may have been or is being sexually abused

 

or maltreated. Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child. Maltreatment is defined as abuse or neglect. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal

responsibility under state law for reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS).

 

Employees are required to follow the procedures described above in Reporting Suspected Child

Abuse.

 

Reporting Crime

Policy DG

 

The Texas Whistleblower Act protects district employees who make good faith re-ports of violations of law by the district to an appropriate law enforcement authority. The district is prohibited from suspending, terminating the employment of, or taking other adverse personnel action against, an employee who makes a report under the Act. State law also provides employees with the right to report a crime witnessed at the school to any peace officer with authority to investigate the crime.

 

Technology Resources

Policy CQ

 

The district’s technology resources, including its network access to the Internet, are primarily for administrative and instructional purposes. Limited personal use is permitted if the use:

 

•    Imposes no tangible cost to the district.

•    Does not unduly burden the district’s computer or network resources

•    Has no adverse effect on job performance or on a student’s academic performance

 

Electronic mail transmissions and other use of the technology resources are not confidential and can be monitored at any time to ensure appropriate use.

 

Employees who are authorized to use the system are required to abide by the provisions of the acceptable use policy and administrative procedures. Failure to do so can result in suspension of access or termination of privileges and may lead to disciplinary action. Employees with questions about computer use and data management can contact the Technology Director.

See page 68 for Technology Agreement

 

 

 

 

Personal Use of Electronic Communications

Policy CQ, DH

 

Electronic communications includes all forms of social media, such as text messaging, instant messaging, electronic mail (e-mail), Web logs (blogs), wikis, electronic forums (chat rooms), video-sharing Web sites (e.g., YouTube), editorial comments posted on the Internet, and social

 

network sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram). Electronic communications also includes all forms of telecommunication such as landlines, cell phones, and Web-based applications.

 

As role models for the district’s students, employees are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not acting as district employees. Employees will be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic communications as they are for any other public conduct. If an employee’s use of electronic communications interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. If an employee wishes to use a social network site or similar media for personal purposes, the employee is responsible for the content on the employee’s page, including content added by the employee, the employee’s

friends, or members of the public who can access the employee’s page, and for Web links on the

employee’s page. The employee is also responsible for maintaining privacy settings appropriate to the content.

 

An employee who uses electronic communications for personal purposes shall observe the following:

 

•    The employee may not set up or update the employee’s personal social network page(s)

using the district’s computers, network, or equipment.

 

•    The employee shall limit use of personal electronic communication devices to send or receive calls, text messages, pictures, and videos to breaks, meal times, and before and after scheduled work hours, unless there is an emergency or the use is authorized by a supervisor to conduct district business.

•    The employee shall not use the district’s logo or other copyrighted material of the district without express, written consent.

•    The employee continues to be subject to applicable state and federal laws, local policies, administrative regulations, and the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics even when communicating regarding personal and private matters, regardless of whether the employee is using private or public equipment, on or off campus. These restrictions include:

 

o Confidentiality of student records. [See Policy FL]

o Confidentiality of health or personnel information concerning colleagues, unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law. [See DH

(EXHIBIT)]

o Confidentiality of district records, including educator evaluations and private e-mail addresses. [See Policy GBA]

o Copyright law [See Policy EFE]

o Prohibition against harming others by knowingly making false statements about a colleague or the school system. [See Policy DH (EXHIBIT)]

 

See Electronic Communications between Employees and Students, below, for regulations on employee communication with students through electronic media.

 

Electronic Communications between Employees and Students

Policy DH

 

A certified or licensed employee, or any other employee designated in writing by the superintendent or a campus principal, may use electronic communications with students who are currently enrolled in the district. The employee must comply with the provisions outlined

below. Electronic communications between all other employees and students who are enrolled

in the district are prohibited.

 

Employees are not required to provide students with their personal phone number or email address.

 

An employee is not subject to the provisions regarding electronic communications with a student to the extent the employee has a social or family relationship with a student. For example, an employee may have a relationship with a niece or nephew, a student who is the child of an adult friend, a student who is a friend of the employee’s child, or a member or participant in the same civic, social, recreational, or religious organization.

 

The following definitions apply for the use of electronic media with students:

•    Electronic communications means any communication facilitated by the use of any electronic device, including a telephone, cellular telephone, computer, computer network, personal data assistant, or pager. The term includes e-mail, text messages, instant messages, and any communication made through an Internet website, including a social media website or a social networking website.

•    Communicate means to convey information and includes a one-way communication as well as a dialogue between two or more people. A public communication by an employee that is not targeted at students (e.g., a posting on the employee’s personal social network page or a blog) is not a communication: however, the employee may be subject to district regulations on personal electronic communications. See Personal Use

of Electronic Media, above. Unsolicited contact from a student through electronic means is not a communication.

•    Certified or licensed employee means a person employed in a position requiring SBEC certification or a professional license, and whose job duties may require the employee to communicate electronically with students. The term includes classroom teachers, counselors, principals, librarians, paraprofessionals, nurses, educational diagnosticians, licensed therapists, and athletic trainers.

An employee who communicates electronically with students shall observe the following: The employee may use any form of electronic media except text messaging. Only a teacher,

trainer, or other employee who has an extracurricular duty may use text messaging, and then

only to communicate with students who participate in the extracurricular activity over which the

employee has responsibility.

 

•    The employee is prohibited from knowingly communicating with students us-ing any form of electronic communications, including mobile and web applications, that are not provided or accessible by the district unless a specific exception is noted below.

•    The employee shall limit communications to matters within the scope of the employee’s professional responsibilities (e.g., for classroom teachers, matters relating to class work, homework, and tests; for an employee with an extracurricular duty, matters relating to the extracurricular activity.

•    The employee is prohibited from knowingly communicating with students through a personal social network page; the employee must create a separate social network page (“professional page”) for the purpose of communicating with students. The employee must enable administration and parents to access the employee’s professional page.

•    The employee shall not communicate directly with any student between the hours of

12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. An employee may, however, make public posts to a social network site, blog, or similar application at any time.

•    The employee does not have a right to privacy with respect to communications with students and parents.

•    The employee continues to be subject to applicable state and federal laws, local policies, administrative regulations, and the Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics including:

o Compliance with the Public Information Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), including retention and confidentiality of student records. [See Policies CPC and FL]

o Copyright law [Policy EFE]

•    Prohibitions against soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship

with a student. [See Policy DF]

•    Upon request from administration, an employee will provide the phone number(s), social network site(s), or other information regarding the method(s) of electronic media the employee uses to communicate with one or more currently-enrolled students.

•    Upon written request from a parent or student, the employee shall discontinue communicating with the student through e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, or any other form of one-to-one communication.

•    An employee may request an exception from one or more of the limitations above by submitting a written request to his or her immediate supervisor.

•    An employee shall notify his or supervisor in writing within one business day if a student engages in an improper electronic communication with the em-ployee. The employee should describe the form and content of the electronic communication.

 

 

 

Criminal History Background Checks

Policy DBAA

 

Employees may be subject to a review of their criminal history record information at any time during employment. National criminal history checks based on an individual’s fingerprints, photo, and other identification will be conducted on certain employees and entered into the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Clearinghouse. This database provides the district and SBEC with access to an employee’s current national criminal history and updates to the employee’s subsequent criminal history.

 

Employee Arrests and Convictions

Policy DH

 

An employee shall notify his or her principal or immediate supervisor within three calendar days of any arrest, indictment, conviction, no contest or guilty plea, or other adjudication of the employee for any felony, any offense involving moral turpitude, and any of the other offenses as indicated below:

 

1.   Crimes involving school property or funds;

 

2.   Crimes involving attempt by fraudulent or unauthorized means to obtain or alter any certificate or permit that would entitle any person to hold or obtain a position as an educator;

 

3.   Crimes that occur wholly or in part on school property or at a school-sponsored activity; or

 

4.   Crimes involving moral turpitude, which include:

 

•      Dishonesty; fraud; deceit; theft; misrepresentation;

 

•      Deliberate violence;

 

•      Base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor;

 

•      Felony possession or conspiracy to possess, or any misdemeanor or felony transfer, sale, distribution, or conspiracy to transfer, sell, or distribute any controlled substance defined in Chapter 481 of the Health and Safety Code;

 

•      Felony driving while intoxicated (DWI); or

 

•      Acts constituting abuse or neglect under the Texas Family Code.

 

If an educator is arrested or criminally charged, the superintendent is also required to report the educators’ criminal history to the Division of Investigations at TEA.

 

Alcohol and Drug-Abuse Prevention

Policy DH

 

The Cuero ISD is committed to maintaining an alcohol- and drug-free environment and will not tolerate the use of alcohol and illegal drugs in the workplace and at school-related or school- sanctioned activities on or off school property. Employees who use or are under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs as defined by the Texas Controlled Substances Act during working

hours may be dismissed. The district’s policy regarding employee drug use follows:

 

Alcohol and Drugs / Notice of Drug-Free Workplace

As a condition of employment, an employee shall abide by the terms of the following drug-free workplace provisions. An employee shall notify the Superintendent in writing if the employee is convicted for a violation of a criminal drug statute occurring in the workplace in accordance with Arrests, Indictments, Convictions, and Other Adjudications, below.

 

An employee shall not manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or be under the influence of any of the following substances during working hours while on District property or at school-related activities during or outside of usual working hours:

 

1.     Any controlled substance or dangerous drug as defined by law, including but not limited to marijuana,    any narcotic drug, hallucinogen, stimulant, depressant, amphetamine, or barbiturate.

2.     Alcohol or any alcoholic beverage.

3.     Any abusable glue, aerosol paint, or any other chemical substance for inhalation.

4.     Any other intoxicant or mood-changing, mind-altering, or behavior-altering drug.

An employee need not be legally intoxicated to be considered “under the influence” of a controlled substance.

 

Exceptions

 

It shall not be considered a violation of this policy if the employee:

1.     Manufactures, possesses, or dispenses a substance listed above as part of the employee’s job responsibilities;

 

2.     Uses or possesses a controlled substance or drug authorized by a licensed physician prescribed for the employee’s personal use; or

 

3.     Possesses a controlled substance or drug that a licensed physician has prescribed for the employee’s child or other individual for whom the employee is a legal guardian.

 

Sanctions

 

An employee who violates these drug-free workplace provisions shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Sanctions may include:

 

1.     Referral to drug and alcohol counseling or rehabilitation programs;

2.     Referral to employee assistance programs;

3.     Termination from employment with the District; and

4.     Referral to appropriate law enforcement officials for prosecution.

 

 

 

Tobacco Products and E-Cigarette Use

Policies DH, GKA, FNCD

 

State law prohibits smoking, using tobacco products, or e-cigarettes on all district-owned property and at school-related or school-sanctioned activities, on or off school property. This includes all buildings, playground areas, parking facilities, and facilities used for athletics and other activ- ities. Drivers of district-owned vehicles are prohibited from smoking or using tobacco products

or e-cigarettes while inside the vehicle. Notices stating that smoking is prohibited by law and

punishable by a fine are displayed in prominent places in all school buildings.

 

 

Fraud and Financial Impropriety

Policy CAA

 

All employees should act with integrity and diligence in duties involving the district’s financial resources. The district prohibits fraud and financial impropriety, as defined below. Fraud and financial impropriety includes the following:

 

•        Forgery or unauthorized alteration of any document or account belonging to the district

•        Forgery or unauthorized alteration of a check, bank draft, or any other financial document

•        Misappropriation of funds, securities, supplies, or other district assets, including employee

time

•        Impropriety in the handling of money or reporting of district financial transactions

•        Profiteering as a result of insider knowledge of district information or activities

•      Unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary information to outside parties

•      Unauthorized disclosure of investment activities engaged in or contemplated by the district

•      Accepting or seeking anything of material value from contractors, vendors, or other persons

providing services or materials to the district, except as other-wise permitted by law or district policy

•      Inappropriately destroying, removing, or using records, furniture, fixtures, or equipment

•        Unauthorized disclosure of confidential or proprietary information to outside parties

•        Unauthorized disclosure of investment activities engaged in or contemplated by the district

•        Accepting or seeking anything of material value from contractors, vendors, or other persons

providing services or materials to the district

•        Destroying, removing, or inappropriately using records, furniture, fixtures, or equipment

•        Failing to provide financial records required by federal, state, or local entities

•        Failure to disclose conflicts of interest as required by law or district policy

•        Any other dishonest act regarding the finances of the district

•        Failure to comply with requirements imposed by law, the awarding agency, or a pass-

through entity for state and federal awards

 

 

Conflict of Interest

Policies CB, DBD

 

Employees are required to disclose in writing to the district  any situation that creates a potential conflict of interest with proper discharge of assigned duties and responsibilities or creates a potential conflict of interest with the best interests of the district. This includes the following:

•        A personal financial interest

•        A business interest

•        Any other obligation or relationship

•        Nonschool employment

 

 

Employees should contact their supervisor for additional information.

 

Gifts and Favors

Policy DBD

 

Employees may not accept gifts or favors that could influence, or be construed to influence, the employee’s discharge of assigned duties. The acceptance of a gift, favor, or service by an administrator or teacher that might reasonably tend to influence the selection of textbooks may result in prosecution of a Class B misdemeanor offense. This does not include staff development, teacher training, or instructional materials, such as maps or worksheets, that convey information to students or contribute to the learning process.

 

 

Copyrighted materials

Policy EFE

 

Employees are expected to comply with the provisions of federal copyright law relating to the unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, performance, or display of copyrighted materials (i.e., printed material, videos, computer data and programs, etc.). Rented videos are to be used in the classroom for educational purposes only. The following guidelines shall be used when selecting movies/videos used in the classroom:

•  Pre-K through Grade 8 – G (General)

•  Grades 9-12 – PG (Parental Guidance)

 

Any movies/videos outside this guideline must have:

•  documentation indicating alignment with the teacher’s lesson plans,

•  written consent of the principal, and

•  parental permission.

 

Duplication or backup of computer programs and data must be made within the provisions of the purchase agreement.

 

 

Associations and Political Activities

Policy DGA

 

The district will not directly or indirectly discourage employees from participating in political affairs or require any employee to join any group, club, committee, organization, or association. Employees may join or refuse to join any professional association or organization.

 

An individual’s employment will not be affected by membership or a decision not to be a member of any employee organization that exists for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.

 

Use of district resources, including work time, for political activities is prohibited.

 

Charitable Contributions

Policy DG

 

The Board or any employee may not directly or indirectly require or coerce an employee to make a contribution to a charitable organization or in response to a fund-raiser. Employees cannot be required to attend a meeting called for the purpose of soliciting charitable contributions. In addition, the Board or any employee may not directly or indirectly require or coerce an employee to refrain from making a contribution to a charitable organization or in response to a fundraiser or attending a meeting called for the purpose of soliciting charitable contributions.

 

 

 

Safety

Policy CK series

 

The district has developed and promotes a comprehensive program to ensure the safety of its employees, students, and visitors. The safety program includes guidelines and procedures for responding to emergencies and activities to help reduce the frequency of accidents and injuries. To prevent or minimize injuries to employees, coworkers, and students and to protect and conserve district equipment, employees must comply with the following requirements:

 

•        Observe all safety rules.

•        Keep work areas clean and orderly at all times.

•        Immediately report all accidents to their supervisor.

•        Operate only equipment or machines for which they have training and authorization.

 

While driving on district business, employees are required to abide by all state and local traffic laws. Employees driving on district business are prohibited from texting and using other electronic devices that require both visual and manual attention while the vehicle is in motion. Employees will exercise care and sound judgment on whether to use hands-free technology while the vehicle is in motion.

 

Employees with questions or concerns relating to safety programs and issues can contact the superintendent’s office.

 

 

Possession of Firearms and Weapons

Policies FNCG, GKA

 

Employees, visitors, and students, including those with a license to carry a concealed handgun, are prohibited from bringing firearms, knives, clubs or other prohibited weapons onto school premises (i.e., building or portion of a building) or any grounds or building where a school- sponsored activity takes place. A person, including an employee, who holds a license to carry a handgun may transport or store a handgun or other firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle in a parking lot, garage, or other district provided parking area, provided the handgun or firearm or ammunition is properly stored, and not in plain view. To ensure the safety of all persons,

 

employees who observe or suspect a violation of the district’s weapons policy should report it to their supervisor or call the superintendent’s office immediately.

 

 

 

Visitors in the Workplace

Policy GKC

 

All visitors are expected to enter any district facility through the main entrance and sign in or report to the building’s main office. Authorized visitors will receive directions or be escorted to their destination. Employees who observe an unauthorized individual on the district premises should immediately direct him or her to the building office or contact the administrator in charge.

 

 

Asbestos Management Plan

Policy CKA

 

The district is committed to providing a safe environment for employees. An accredited management planner has developed an asbestos management plan for each school. A copy of the district’s management plan is kept in the District Administrative Assistant’s office and is available for inspection during normal business hours.

 

 

Pest Control Treatment

Policies CLB, DI

 

Employees are prohibited from applying any pesticide or herbicide without appropriate training and prior approval of the integrated pest management (IPM) coordinator, Robert Bermea. Any application of pesticide or herbicide must be done in a manner prescribed by law and the district’s integrated pest management program.

 

Notices of planned pest control treatment will be posted in a district building 48 hours before the treatment begins. Notices are generally located in a prominent area for public viewing at

each facility. In addition, individual employees may request in writing to be notified of pesticide applications. An employee who requests individualized notice will be notified by telephone,

written or electric means. Pest control information sheets are available from campus principals or facility managers upon request. For questions, please contact Mr. Bermea at 361-564-5484

or at rbermea@cueroisd.org

 

General procedures

 

 

Bad Weather Closing

 

The district may close schools because of bad weather, epidemics, or emergency conditions. When such conditions exist, the superintendent will make the official decision concerning the closing of the district’s facilities. When it becomes necessary to open late to release students early, or to cancel school, district officials will post a notice on the district’s web site and notify the following radio and television stations:

 

 

 

KIXS-107.9

KVIC-104.7

KVCT-Ch 19

KAVU-Ch 25

Advocate

Cuero Record

573-0777

576-6111

573-1900

575-2500

275-6319

275-3464

 

Channel 4 WOAI

Channel 5 KENS

Channel 12 KSAT

newsdesk@woai.com

news@kens5.com

(210)  351-1277

 

news@mysanantonio.com

password - frosty

 

Emergencies

Policy CKC, CKD

 

All employees should be familiar with the safety procedures for responding to emergiencies, including a medical emergency and the evacuation diagrams posted in their work areas. Emergency drills will be conducted to familiarize employees and students with safety and evacuation procedures. Each campus is equipped with an automatic external defibrillator. Fire extinguishers are located throughout all district buildings. Employees should know the location of these devices and procedures for their use.

 

 

Lesson Plans

 

Lesson plans serve two main purposes:

1.   To guide instruction and reflect planning for instruction.

2.   To reflect professional decisions made by a teacher or group of teachers in translating State, District, and campus curriculum into an outline for instruction.

 

There is no required format for lesson plans; however, lesson plans shall include the following components and each component should reflect the students’ abilities, needs, and other unique learning characteristics:

1.   Student-friendly objectives

2.   Learning activities

3.   Resources

4.   Assessment methods/strategies

5.   Cites of best practices/high yield strategies (technology, cooperative grouping, etc.)

 

In order to minimize paperwork, the five components may be addressed in lesson plans with references to specific documents, resources, and page numbers where appropriate.

 

Principals will review lesson plans to ensure the five elements have been addressed.

 

Plans for instruction shall be available for a substitute in a form that is readily usable by a substitute.  Emergency lesson plans covering three days needs to be submitted to the campus principal by the 2nd week of each semester and should be updated as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

Name and Address Changes

 

It is important that employment records be kept up to date. Employees must notify the superintendent’s office if there are any changes or corrections to their name, home address, contact telephone number, marital status, emergency contact, or beneficiary. Forms to process a change in personal information can be obtained from the campus secretary or the superintendent’s secretary/ HR.

 

 

Purchasing Procedures

Policy CH

 

All requests for purchases must be submitted to the principal or budget manager on an official district purchase order (PO) form with the appropriate approval signatures. No purchases, charges, or commitments to buy goods or services for the district can be made without a PO number. The district will not reimburse employees or assume responsibility for purchases made without authorization. Employees are not permitted to purchase supplies or equipment for personal use through the district’s business office. Contact the assistant superintendent of business and finance at for additional information on purchasing procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

Personnel Records

Policy GBA

 

Most district records, including personnel records, are public information and must be released upon request. In most cases, an employee’s personal e-mail is confidential and may not be released without the employee’s permission.

 

Employees may choose to have the following personal information withheld:

 

 

•    Address

•    Phone number, including personal cell phone number

•    Emergency contact information

•    Information that reveals whether they have family members

 

The choice to not allow public access to this information may be made at any time by sub- mitting a written request to the superintendent’s secretary. New or terminating employees have

 

14 days after hire or termination to submit a request. Otherwise, personal information will be released to the public until a request to withhold the information is submitted.

 

Building Use

Policies DGA, GKD

 

Employees who wish to use district facilities after school hours must follow established procedures. Building principal and the director of facilities are responsible for scheduling the use of facilities after school hours. Contact these individuals to request to use school facilities and to obtain information on the fees charged.

 

Termination of Employment

 

Resignations

Policy DFE

 

Contract employees. Contract employees may resign their position without penalty at the end of any school year if written notice is received at least 45 days before the first day of instruction of the following school year. A written notice of resignation should be submitted to the superintendent. Contract employees may resign at any other time only with the approval of the superintendent or the board of trustees. Resignation without consent may result in disciplinary action by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC).

 

The principal is required to notify the superintendent of an educator’s resignation fol-lowing an alleged incident of misconduct for any of the acts listed in Reports to Texas Education Agency. The superintendent will notify SBEC when an employee resigns and reasonable evidence exists to indicate that the employee has en-gaged in of the same acts.

 

Noncontract employees. Policy DP Noncontract employees may resign their positions at any time. A written notice of resignation should be submitted to the superintendent at least two weeks prior to the effective date. Employees are encouraged to include the reasons for leaving in the letter of resignation but are not required to do so.

 

 

Dismissal or Nonrenewal of Contract Employees

Policies DF Series

 

Employees on probationary, term, and continuing contracts can be dismissed during the school year according to the procedures outlined in district policies. Employees on probationary or

term contracts can be nonrenewed at the end of the contract term. Contract employees dismissed

during the school year, suspended without pay, or subject to a reduction in force are entitled to receive notice of the recommended action, an explanation of the charges against them, and an opportunity for a hearing. The time lines and procedures to be followed when a suspension, termination, or nonrenewal occurs will be provided when a writ ten notice is given to an employee. Advance notification requirements do not apply when a contract employee is dismissed for failing to obtain or maintain appropriate certification or whose certification is

 

revoked for misconduct. Information on the time lines and procedures can be found in the DF

series policies that are provided to employees or are available online at www.cueroisd.org.

 

 

Dismissal of Noncontract Employees

Policy DCD

 

Noncontract employees are employed at will and may be dismissed without notice, a description of the reasons for dismissal, or a hearing. It is unlawful for the district to dismiss any employee for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, military status,

genetic information, any other basis protected by law, or in retaliation for the exercise of certain protected legal rights. Noncontract employees who are dismissed have the right to grieve the termination. The dismissed employee must follow the district process outlined in this handbook when pursuing the grievance. (See Complaints and Grievances.)

 

 

 

Exit interviews and Procedures

 

Exit interviews will be scheduled for all employees leaving the district. Information on the continuation of benefits, release of information, and procedures for requesting references will be provided at this time. Separating employees are asked to provide the district with a forwarding address and phone number and complete a questionnaire that provides the district with feedback on his or her employment experience. All district keys, books, property, technology and other equipment must be returned upon separation from employment.

 

 

Reports to the Texas Education Agency

Policy DF, DHB, DHC

 

The resignation or termination of a certified employee must be reported to the Division of Investigations at TEA if there is evidence that the employee was involved in any of the following:

 

•    Any form of sexual or physical abuse of a minor or any other unlawful conduct with a student or a minor

•    Soliciting or engaging in sexual contact or a romantic relationship with a student or minor

•    The possession, transfer, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance

•    The illegal transfer, appropriation, or expenditure of district or school property or funds

•    An attempt by fraudulent or unauthorized means to obtain or alter any certificate or permit for the purpose of promotion or additional compensation

•    Committing a criminal offense or any part of a criminal offense on district property or at a school-sponsored event

 

The reporting requirements above are in addition to the superintendent’s ongoing duty to notify TEA when a certified employee, or an applicant for certification, has a reported criminal history. “Reported criminal history” means any formal criminal justice system charges and dispositions including arrests, detentions, indictments, criminal information, convictions,

 

deferred adjudications, and probations in any state or federal jurisdiction that is obtained by a means other than the Fingerprint-based Applicant Clearinghouse of Texas (FACT).

 

 

Reports Concerning Court-Ordered Withholding

 

The district is required to report the termination of employees that are under court order or writ of withholding for child support or spousal maintenance. Notice of the following must be sent to the support recipient and the court or, in the case of child support, the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division:

•        Termination of employment not later than the seventh day after the date of termination

•        Employee’s last known address

•        Name and address of the employee’s new employer, if known

 

 

 

 

Student Issues

 

Equal Educational Opportunities

Policies FB, FFH

 

The Cuero ISD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability in providing education services, activities, and programs, including vocational programs, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

 

Questions or concerns about discrimination against students based on sex, including sexual harassment should be directed to Pam Longbotham, the district Title IX coordinator. Questions or concerns about discrimination on the basis of a disability should be directed to Pam Longbotham, the district ADA/Section 504 coordinator. All other questions or concerns relating to discrimination based on any other reasons should be directed to the Superintendent.

 

Student Records

Policy FL

 

Student records are confidential and are protected from unauthorized inspection or use. Employees should take precautions to maintain the confidentiality of all student records. The following people are the only people who have general access to a student’s records:

 

•    Parents: Married, separated, or divorced unless parental rights have been legally terminated and the school has been given a copy of the court order terminating parental rights

•    The student: The rights of parents transfer to a student who turns 18 or is enrolled in an institution of post-secondary education. A district is not prohibited from granting the student access to the student’s records before this time.

•    School officials with legitimate educational interests

 

 

The student handbook provides parents and students with detailed information on student records. Parents or students who want to review student records should be directed to the campus principal for assistance.

 

Parent and Student Complaints

Policy FNG

 

In an effort to hear and resolve parent and student complaints in a timely manner and at the lowest administrative level possible, the board has adopted orderly processes for handling complaints on different issues. Any campus office or the superintendent’s office can provide parents and students with information on filing a complaint.

 

Parents are encouraged to discuss problems or complaints with the teachers or the appropriate administrator at any time. Parents and students with complaints that cannot be resolved to their satisfaction should be directed to the campus principal. The formal complaint process provides parents and students with an opportunity to be heard up to the highest level of management if they are dissatisfied with a principal’s response.

 

 

Administering Medication to Students

Policy FFAC

 

Only designated employees may administer prescription medication, nonprescription medication, and herbal or dietary supplements to students. Exceptions apply to the self- administration of asthma medication, medication for anaphylaxis (e.g., EpiPenÒ), and medication for diabetes management, if the medication is self-administered in accordance with district policy and procedures. A student who must take any other medication during the school day must bring a written request from his or her parent and the medicine in its original, properly labeled container. Contact the principal or school nurse for information on procedures that must be followed when administering medication to students.

 

 

Dietary Supplements

Policies DH, FFAC

 

District employees are prohibited by state law from knowingly selling, marketing, or dis- tributing a dietary supplement that contains performance-enhancing compounds to a student with whom the employee has contact as part of his or her school district duties. In addition, employees may not knowingly endorse or suggest the ingestion, intranasal application, or inhalation of a performance-enhancing dietary supplement to any student.

 

Psychotropic Drugs

Policy FFAC

 

A psychotropic drug is a substance used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease or as a component of a medication. It is intended to have an altering effect on perception, emotion, or behavior and is commonly described as a mood- or behavior-altering substance.

 

 

District employees are prohibited by state law from doing the following:

 

•        Recommending that a student use a psychotropic drug

•        Suggesting a particular diagnosis

•        Excluding from class or school-related activity a student whose parent refuses to consent to a psychiatric evaluation or to authorize the administration of a psychotropic drug to a student

 

 

Student Conduct and Discipline

Policies in the FN series and FO series

 

Students are expected to follow the classroom rules, campus rules, and rules listed in the Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct. Teachers and administrators are responsible for taking disciplinary action based on a range of discipline management strategies that have been adopted by the district. Other employees that have concerns about a particular student’s conduct should contact the classroom teacher or campus principal.

 

 

Student Attendance

Policy FEB

 

Teachers and staff should be familiar with the district’s policies and procedures for attendance accounting. These procedures require minor students to have parental consent before they are allowed to leave campus. When absent from school, the student, upon returning to school, must bring a note signed by the parent that describes the reason for the absence. These requirements are addressed in campus training and in the student handbook. Contact the campus principal for additional information.

 

 

Bullying

Policy FFI

 

Bullying is defined by TEC §37.0832.  All employees are required to report student complaints of bullying, including cyber bullying, to Dr. Pam Longbotham, Assistant Superintendent, at

361-275-1922.

 

The district’s policy includes definitions and procedures for reporting and investigating bullying of students is reprinted below:

 

BULLYING PROHIBITED                                                                                        FFI(LOCAL) The District prohibits bullying as defined by this policy.  Retaliation against anyone involved in the

complaint process is a violation of District policy and is prohibited. DEFINITION

Bullying occurs when a student or group of students engages in written or verbal expression, expression

through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the District and that:

 

1.         Has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; or

 

2.         Is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.

 

This conduct is considered bullying if it:

 

1.         Exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct; and

 

2.         Interferes with a student’s education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school. EXAMPLES

Bullying of a student may include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for

money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, name calling, rumor spreading, or ostracism. RETALIATION

The District prohibits retaliation by a student or District employee against any person who in good faith

makes a report of bullying, serves as a witness, or participates in an investigation. EXAMPLES

Examples of retaliation may include threats, rumor spreading, ostracism, assault, destruction of property,

unjustified punishments, or unwarranted grade reductions.  Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.

 

FALSE CLAIM

 

A student who intentionally makes a false claim, offers false statements, or refuses to cooperate with a

District investigation regarding bullying shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. TIMELY REPORTING

Reports of bullying shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged act or knowledge of the alleged

act. A failure to immediately report may impair the District’s ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct.

 

REPORTING PROCEDURES STUDENT REPORT

To obtain assistance and intervention, any student who believes that he or she has experienced bullying

or believes that another student has experienced bullying should immediately report the alleged acts to a teacher, counselor, principal, or other District employee.

 

EMPLOYEE REPORT

 

Any District employee who suspects or receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced bullying shall immediately notify the principal or designee.

 

REPORT FORMAT

 

A report may be made orally or in writing. The principal or designee shall reduce any oral reports to written form.

 

PROHIBITED CONDUCT

 

The principal or designee shall determine whether the allegations in the report, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct as defined by policy FFH, including dating violence and harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.  If so, the District shall proceed under policy FFH.  If the allegations could constitute both prohibited conduct and bullying, the investigation under FFH shall include a determination on each type of conduct.

 

INVESTIGATION OF REPORT

 

The principal or designee shall conduct an appropriate investigation based on the allegations in the

report.  The principal or designee shall promptly take interim action calculated to prevent bullying during the course of an investigation, if appropriate.

 

CONCLUDING THE INVESTIGATION

 

Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation should be completed within ten District business days from the date of the initial report alleging bullying; however, the principal or designee shall take additional time if necessary to complete a thorough investigation.

 

The principal or designee shall prepare a final, written report of the investigation. The report shall include a determination of whether bullying occurred, and if so, whether the victim used reasonable self- defense. A copy of the report shall be sent to the Superintendent or designee.

 

NOTICE TO PARENTS

 

If an incident of bullying is confirmed, the principal or designee shall promptly notify the parents of the victim and of the student who engaged in bullying.

 

DISTRICT ACTION BULLYING

If the results of an investigation indicate that bullying occurred, the District shall promptly respond by

taking appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the District’s Student Code of Conduct and may take corrective action reasonably calculated to address the conduct.

 

DISCIPLINE

 

A student who is a victim of bullying and who used reasonable self-defense in response to the bullying shall not be subject to disciplinary action.

 

The discipline of a student with a disability is subject to applicable state and federal law in addition to the Student Code of Conduct.

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION

 

Examples of corrective action may include a training program for the individuals involved in the complaint, a comprehensive education program for the school community, follow-up inquiries to determine if any new incidents or any instances of retaliation have occurred, involving parents and students in efforts to identify problems and improve the school climate, increasing staff monitoring of areas where bullying has occurred, and reaffirming the District’s policy against bullying.

 

TRANSFERS

 

The principal or designee shall refer to FDB for transfer provisions.

 

COUNSELING

 

The principal or designee shall notify the victim, the student who engaged in bullying, and any students who witnessed the bullying of available counseling options.

 

IMPROPER CONDUCT

 

If the investigation reveals improper conduct that did not rise to the level of prohibited conduct or bullying, the District may take action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct or any other appropriate corrective action.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

 

To the greatest extent possible, the District shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses.  Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation.

 

APPEAL

 

A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal through FNG(LOCAL), beginning at the appropriate level.

 

RECORDS RETENTION

 

Retention of records shall be in accordance with CPC(LOCAL). ACCESS TO POLICY AND PROCEDURES

This policy and any accompanying procedures shall be distributed annually in the employee and student

handbooks.  Copies of the policy and procedures shall be posted on the District’s Web site, to the extent practicable, and shall be readily available at each campus and the District’s administrative offices.

 

 

Hazing

Policy FNCC, FO

Students must have prior approval from the principal or designee for any type of “initiation rites” of a school club or organization. While most initiation rites are permissible, engaging in or permitting “hazing” is a criminal offense. Any teacher, administrator, or employee who observes a student engaged in any form of hazing, who has reason to know or suspect that a student intends to engage in hazing, or has engaged in hazing must report that fact or suspicion to the designated campus administrator.

 

 

 

 

 

Responsible Use Technology Agreement

 

The Cuero ISD (CISD) network is defined as CISD’s wired and wireless network infrastructure, servers, computer workstations, mobile technologies, peripherals, applications, databases, online resources, Internet access, email and all other interconnected technologies as they currently exist or become available. This includes any access to the CISD network by CISD-owned or personal devices while on or near school property, in school vehicles and at school-sponsored activities, and includes the use of CISD technology resources via off-campus remote access.

 

Availability of Access

 

Access to CISD’s network is a privilege, not a right. Access shall be made available to staff, students and members of the public primarily for instructional and administrative purposes and in accordance with administrative regulations, CISD policy and law.

 

Monitoring, Restricting and Filtering

 

Use of the network shall not be considered confidential and may be monitored or restricted at any time by designated staff to ensure appropriate use for instructional or administrative purposes. CISD uses filtering devices and software that block access to visual depictions that are obscene, pornographic, inappropriate for students, or harmful to minors as defined by the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act and as determined by the Superintendent or designee. CISD reserves the right to decrypt internet traffic as necessary to create a safe and secure environment for students.

 

Appropriate Use

•     You are responsible for the use and protection of any network account assigned to you, including regular password changes in accordance with CISD password requirements and keeping your password private.

•     Your account is to be used primarily for educational purposes, but some limited personal use is permitted as long as it does not unduly burden CISD technology resources or interfere with

your educational responsibilities.

•     You will be held responsible at all times for the proper use of CISD technology resources, and CISD may suspend or revoke your access if you violate the rules.

•     As applicable, you must comply with CISD’s record management program, the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Public Information Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA), including retention and confidentiality of student and CISD records, and campaign laws.

•     As applicable, you must maintain the confidentiality of health or personnel information concerning CISD employees and colleagues, unless disclosure serves lawful professional purposes or is required by law.

•     Remember that people who receive email from you with a school address might think your message represents the school’s point

 

Inappropriate Use

•     Using technology resources for any illegal purpose or in violation of CISD policy.

•     Damaging technology resources in any way including:

o     Maliciously harming or destroying CISD equipment, materials or data o       Negligence of reasonable care for CISD equipment, materials or data

•     Negligence of reasonable security protections on personal devices. For example, not applying security updates and not running anti-virus software on personal computers connected to the CISD network.

•     Attempting to circumvent internet content filtering or disabling the filter is prohibited per federal law (Children’s Internet Protection Act).

•     Accessing sites not authorized under CISD’s filtering policies.

•     Creation of or login by student accounts to any online service not officially approved by

CISD.

•     Encrypting communications to avoid security review.

•     Using any account or login credentials other than your own or sharing your account or login credentials with anyone else. You are responsible for anything that happens on your account.

•     Pretending to be someone else when posting, transmitting, or receiving messages.

•     Attempting to read, delete, copy, modify, or interfere with another user’s work.

•     Using resources to engage in conduct that harasses or bullies others.

•     Posting, transmitting, or accessing materials that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, damaging to another’s reputation or illegal.

•     Using inappropriate language such as swear words, vulgarity, ethnic or racial slurs and any other inflammatory language.

•     Posting or transmitting pictures of students without obtaining prior permission from all individuals depicted or from guardians of depicted students who are under the age of

18.

•     Violating others’ intellectual property rights, including uploading, downloading or using copyrighted information without permission from the copyright holder.

•     Use of unlicensed software, or altering CISD installed software.

•     Unauthorized scanning, probing or access of the CISD network. Any attempt to damage or degrade network services. Uploading or creating computer viruses.

•     Wasting resources through improper use of CISD’s network, including creating and distributing chain letters, sending spam, setting up equipment so that it can act as an “open relay” for third- party spammers, or providing products or services for pay, i.e., outside employment.

•     Sending unauthorized broadcasts to official or private distribution lists, regardless of content or recipients.

•     Gaining unauthorized access to restricted information or resources.

•     If you are a student:

o  Posting or transmitting personal information about yourself or others, such as addresses and phone numbers

o  Responding to requests for personally identifying information or contact from unknown individuals

o  Arranging to physically meet people first met online in non-school related contexts.

If a request for such a meeting is received, it should be reported to a teacher or

administrator immediately.

 

 

Google G Suite

 

CISD will create accounts for all students to allow for collaborative sharing using G Suite. These tools are housed on the Internet and can be accessed from any Internet-connected device. No special software is required.

 

Google G Suite is a set of online tools for communication, collaboration and document storage. Provided by Google to CISD at no cost, these tools include Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sites and Classroom. As Google continues to add new tools, CISD will evaluate each for its educational potential. CISD may add additional tools within Google G Suite throughout the school year.

 

Student Email Addresses

 

 

Students will be assigned a CISD student email account. This account will be considered the student’s official email address until such time as the student is no longer enrolled in CISD. The naming convention will be first initial, last name followed by two random numbers, ending with

@mycueroisd.org. Upon graduation from high school, the students’ email will be accessible for the following two years.

 

Conduct

 

Students are responsible for appropriate behavior online just as they are in a school building. Communication with others should always be course-related. Students should notify the teacher of anything inappropriate or that makes them uncomfortable. Bullying will not be tolerated. The privacy of others should be respected at all times.

 

 

Special Note: Cyberbullying

 

Cyberbullying is defined as the use of any Internet-connected device for the purpose of bullying, harassing, or intimidating another student. This includes, but may not be limited to: sending abusive text messages to cell phones, computers or Internet-connected game consoles; posting abusive comments on someone’s blog or social networking site (e.g., Twitter or Facebook); creating a social networking site or web page that masquerades as the victim’s personal site

and using it to embarrass him or her; making it appear that the victim is posting malicious comments about friends to isolate him or her from friends; posting the victim’s personally identifiable information on a site; sending abusive comments while playing interactive games; recording and distributing media with the intent to manipulate or embarrass others. (See Policy FFH and FFI).

 

Internet Safety

 

CISD makes every effort to ensure student safety and security when using the CISD network including a) preventing unauthorized access, hacking and other unlawful activities, b) restricting unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information regarding students, and c) educating staff and students about cyber bullying awareness and response, as well as appropriate online behavior.

 

COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)

 

Under the provisions of COPPA all commercial websites must get prior consent before children under the age of 13 are permitted to share any personal information about themselves or are permitted to use any interactive communication technologies where they would be able to share personal information with others. This includes chat rooms, email, instant messaging, personal profiles, personal websites, registration forms, and mailing lists. CISD uses a Digital Resource Approval Process to verify COPPA compliance before use of online services by students under 13. Both students in this age group and their teachers will be educated as to the provisions of the law and the Acceptable Use Guidelines. Students under the age of 13 may not visit any websites that collect personal information unless it is for curricular reasons and is under the direction or supervision of a staff member of CISD. A list

of resources used for curriculum and instruction can be found on the CISD website.

 

 

Consequences for inappropriate use

 

Noncompliance with applicable regulations will result in a) suspension of access to CISD technology resources; b) revocation of account; c) disciplinary action consistent with CISD policies and regulations. (See CISD Student Code of Conduct, Policy BBI, CQ and DH,, Employee Standards of Conduct Code of Ethics and Standard Practice for Texas Educators). Violations of law may result in criminal prosecutions as well as disciplinary action by CISD. Violating any of these rules can result in a disciplinary action. The nature of the violation will determine the appropriate disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis. Disciplinary actions may vary depending on the circumstances and are listed here as a guideline.

 

 

Disclaimer

 

CISD’s network is provided on an “as is, as available” basis. CISD does not make any warranties, whether expressed or implied, with respect to any services provided by the network and any information or software contained therein. CISD does not warrant that the functions or services performed by, or that the information or software contained on the network will meet the network user’s requirements, or that the network will be uninterrupted or error-free, or that defects will be corrected. Opinions, advice, services, and all other information expressed by network users, information providers, service providers, or other third party individuals in the network are those of the providers and not CISD. CISD will cooperate fully with local, state, or federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating

to misuse of CISD’s network.

 

 

 

Disclaimer of Liability

 

CISD shall not be liable for the users’ inappropriate use of CISD’s network or violations of copyright restrictions, users’ mistakes or negligence, or costs incurred by users whether using CISD-owned or personal devices. CISD shall not be liable for any physical damage, loss or theft of personally owned devices. CISD shall not be responsible for ensuring the accuracy or usability of any information found on the Internet. Oversight of the posting of official CISD, campus, or division/department materials on CISD’s network will be the responsibility of the superintendent, principal, or division/department supervisor or designee. CISD’s network will be used only for administrative and instructional purposes consistent with CISD’s mission and goals.

 

 

Personally Owned Device Internet Usage

 

CISD offers wireless internet access for personally owned devices in our libraries, cafeterias, gyms and office areas. The CISD guest wireless network operates alongside the primary CISD wireless network used for CISD-owned devices, and allows community members, organizations, and others to gain access to the Internet with any personally owned Wi-Fi devices. This Internet access will be provided with the most protective level of Internet filtering currently deployed for CISD student access. The CISD guest wireless network does not allow access to any CISD resources that are not available from the Internet.

 

Upon logging in using a personally owned device, staff, students and members of the public will receive Internet filtering appropriate for their credentials. Configuring personal devices to connect to the CISD wireless network is the sole responsibility of the user. CISD does not provide technical support and assistance for personally owned devices.

 

Because the primary purpose of the CISD network is to provide connectivity for CISD-owned devices, CISD reserves the right to restrict access, bandwidth and content as it deems necessary on the guest wireless network.

 

Personally Owned Device User Agreement

 

Each time a personally owned electronic device is used on CISD property or at a CISD

sponsored event, the user agrees to the terms listed below:

 

•     CISD reserves the right to inspect, at any time, any personally owned device, and the network communications going to and from it, while connected to the CISD-Wifi and CISD-Guest networks. Such monitoring may be conducted remotely, and without prior notification to the device owner. Any other inspection of any personally owned device is subject to the requirements set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.

•     Personally owned devices will only be connected to the network via the CISD guest or CISD wireless access connection. Any attempt to make an unauthorized connection to another CISD wireless network, plug a personally owned device into the CISD physical network (Ethernet), or circumvent any CISD Internet filtering may result in a loss of those individuals’ privileges to bring a personally owned device to CISD facilities, as well as other potential disciplinary actions.

•     CISD will not be obligated to supply electrical power access.

•     Use of personally owned devices on CISD property or at CISD sponsored events is governed by CISD/campus administration.

•     Student use of personally owned devices in the classroom setting will be at the discretion of the campus administration and the classroom teacher.

•     Persons connecting computers to the CISD guest or CISD wireless Networks agree to maintain current security updates and anti-malware software on their computers.

•     Persons accessing CISD email or any confidential CISD information using a personally owned device agree to prevent unauthorized access to the device by securing it with a password and complying with all CISD required system security procedures as well as applicable Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 (P.L.104-191) [HIPAA] standards.

•     If a computer or portable electronic device, such as a cell phone, is lost, stolen, or disposed of without properly deleting all CISD email or other confidential information, the user must contact the CISD Information Technology Help Desk immediately.

 

•     Employees connecting to the CISD-Wifi network with any personally owned devices agree to adhere to all of the provisions of the Personal Use of Electronic Media (Policy DH).*The guardians of any student bringing personal technology to school agree to be responsible for and to reimburse CISD for any damage that their student may cause arising out of and relating to the use of the wireless network with his/her personally owned device.

 

ALL FACULTY/STAFF ARE REQUIRED TO SIGN AND RETURN THIS PAGE BEFORE THE USE OF ANY TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT (DISTRICT OWNED OR PERSONAL) IS ALLOWED AT CUERO ISD.

 

 

FACULTY/STAFF AGREEMENT

I understand that my use of the District’s technology resources is not private and that the District will monitor my activity.

As a user of the school’s technology resources, I understand and agree to comply with the appropriate use guidelines outlined in the Responsible Use Technology Agreement for Faculty/Staff.

I have read the applicable District policies, associated administrative regulations, and this Responsible Use Technology Agreement regarding the District’s technology resources. I hereby release the District, its operators, and any institutions with which it is affiliated from any and all claims and damages of any nature arising from my use of, or inability to use, these resources, including, without limitation, the type of damage identified in the District’s policies and administrative regulations.

I understand the conditions for use of the network and internet resources provided by the Cuero ISD and that access to technology resources are provided for the purpose of promoting education excellence in keeping with the academic goals of the district. I recognize it is impossible for the District to restrict access to all controversial materials, and will not hold the school responsible for materials acquired on the school network. I understand that from time to time the school may wish to publish examples of faculty or staff projects or photographs of faculty and/or staff on the School District’s web

site.

 

 

CONSEQUENCES FOR VIOLATION OF THIS AGREEMENT:

I understand that I am responsible for any transactions that occur under my user ID or account. Should I commit a violation, I understand that consequences of my actions could include suspension of access to the system, loss of computer privileges or data and files, revocation of the computer system account, disciplinary action, and/or referral to law enforcement.

 

Employee’s signature:                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

Date:                                                    Printed Name:

 

 

Circle One:

 

 

 

DISTRICT     CHS      CJH      HUNT      FRENCH      MAINT      TRANSP      FOODSERV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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403(b) Newsletter:

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Ahead

403(b) retirement plans are a great investment and great way to get a head start on saving for your retirement. A

403(b) is a supplemental retirement plan option that allows investment earnings to grow tax-deferred until withdrawal.

Also, 403(b) allow you to take advantage of a savings tax credit, take a loan or financial hardship (if allowed under your employer plan). In order to transfer/rollover you must have a qualifying event (IRS guidelines) to withdraw or move funds. Qualifying events are: Severance from employment, age 59 1/2 or older, disability, death, or financial hardship.

A 403(b) will allow transfers in and out of your plan allowing you to move previous 403(b) funds into the new employer’s 403(b) plan. If the funds come from a 401(k) or IRA then those funds can move into your employer’s plan as well. Not happy with your current investment provider? You can do an exchange with an approved investment provider in the plan. (Please visit www.ffga.com and click on, “View employer retirement plans” to review available options for your employer.)

Current Contributions limits allow you to max out at $18,000.00 if you are 49 and under; $24,000.00 if you are age

50 and older per calendar year. With enrollment open all year round the time to save is now.

 

Time to Enroll

Please visit www.ffga.com for a list of available investment providers in your employer’s plan. Once you have picked an approved provider, then you or your financial advisor must complete enrollment forms directly with the investment company. If you do not have an financial advisor please utilize our 403(b) agent search located on www.ffga.com.

Once your account is established please complete the First Financial Administrators, Inc. Salary Reduction Agreement and fax completed forms to 1-866-265-4594. This form allows your employer to withhold 403(b) contributions from your paycheck, which will be forwarded to the investment company of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toll Free: 1-800-523-8422      Fax:  1-866-265-4594      Email:  retirement@ffga.com      Mail:  P.O. Box 670329 Houston, TX 77267-0329

 

 

Universal Availability Notice

 

 

 

 

 

Act Now to Maximize Your 403(b) and 457(b) Contributions

In compliance with the requirements of IRC §403(b)(12(A)(ii) this Notice will advise you of the voluntary 403(b) Program established and maintained for the benefit of all employees.

 

Now is the time to act if you wish to maximize your pre-tax contributions to the 403(b) and 457(b) Plans or make changes for this calendar (taxable) year.

 

Go to www.ffga.com to view your employers’ retirement plan options and availability. You can also verify if the plan offers both 403(b) and 457(b) Plans before you decide how to proceed.

 

Eligibility - All employees who are employed by the Employer, including full and part-time employees.

 

Contributions - When you enroll in the program, the amounts you designate as salary deferrals are withheld from your wages and forwarded to an investment provider of your choice. Several types of contributions may be available in your plan:

 

Pre-Tax Salary Deferrals: These are amounts contributed into a 403(b) Plan that are deferred from your paycheck before federal income taxes are applied.

 

Roth Salary Deferrals: (If your plan allows) These amounts are also deferred from your paycheck, but are subject to federal income taxes. When you withdraw monies from a Roth plan the funds may be excluded from taxation. Special rules apply to Roth contributions and you should contact your tax advisor before electing this option.

 

For 2016, you may defer from your wages, a maximum of $18,000 to all 403(b) and 457(b) plans unless you will reach 50 years of age during the year. In that case, you would be eligible to contribute an additional $6,000. Deferrals may not exceed 100% of your wages.

 

Rollovers: (If your plan allows) You may also rollover funds from another employer’s plan if you receive an eligible rollover distribution.

 

Plan Investment Options - Your contributions to the 403(b) Plan must be made to an investment provider approved by your Employer. Before enrolling in the plan, you must first establish an account with one of the Providers listed. Once you have executed an investment contract and established an account, you can begin making contributions.

 

Assistance - You may enroll in the plan or receive assistance with these provisions by contacting the plan’s Third Party Administrator, First Financial Administrator, Inc. or a representative for one of the plan’s Investment Companies listed on www.ffga.com.

 

Additional information about the provisions and options in your plan are available by contacting First Financial

Administrators at (800) 523-8422 or from the plan’s web site, www.ffga.com.

 

The following are some guidelines to assist you with your decisions. Note that any changes you make now will continue in 2018 forward, so don’t forget to readjust your contributions once 2018 begins, if that is what you wish to do.

 

403(b) Retirement Plan

The tax structure of a 403(b) is similar to 401k. As you make contributions through your salary, on a pre-tax basis, they attract interest. It is when you start receiving monthly payments from the plan on maturity that you are required to pay taxes, just like any other ordinary income. This is why 403(b) is also known as Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA). This plan is popular among non-profit organizations, and employers opt for it, as it is exempt from Employer Retirement Income Security Act which allows the employer to offer this plan to all employees.

 

457(b) Retirement Plan

A 457(b) is a retirement benefit plan that is open for mostly government sector employees. The employer may offer this plan which is also similar to a 401k. The contributions made by an employee are exempt from tax until the employee receives a benefit from the plan, this is also known as a tax deferred plan. But unlike 401k or 403b, there is no penalty for withdrawal before the age of 59 ½ (subject to a qualifying event under 457(b) provisions).

 

However, the amount withdrawn is subject to ordinary taxation. This plan allows employees to save a part of their income without paying tax on contributions, or the earnings that accrue in the form of interest, until funds are distributed from the plan based on a qualifying event.

 

Difference between 403(b) and 457(b)

Both are tax deferred plans.

 

In 457(b), there is no minimum retirement age which means there is not a 10% penalty upon withdrawal of money based on a qualifying event. An early withdrawal penalty does apply to both 403(b) and 401k plans.

 

What is notable is that if an employer offers both 457(b) and 403(b), an employee can choose to contribute to both from his salary.

 

While under 403(b), an employee can withdraw money for hardship circumstances such as buying a home or for the education of himself or a qualified dependent. Such withdrawals are not allowed under the unforeseen emergency provisions of a 457(b) plan.

 

 

Questions?  Contact First Financial at (800) 523-8422 or visit us at www.ffga.com.

 

Rev. 0616

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