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Section 6000: Personnel

Table of Content

PERSONNEL

CERTIFIED PERSONNEL

SUPPORT STAFF

ACTIVITIES

COMPENSATION AND RELATED BENEFITS

Policy 6110 Code of Ethics for All District Personnel

General Provisions

Pursuant to the provisions of the General Municipal Law Section 806, the Board of Education of the Cooperstown Central School District recognizes that there are rules of ethical conduct for members of the Board and employees of the District that must be observed if a high degree of moral conduct is to be obtained in our unit of local government.  It is the purpose of this policy to promulgate these rules of ethical conduct for the Board members and employees of the District.  These rules shall serve as a guide for official conduct of the Board members and employees of the District.  The rules of ethical conduct of this policy, as adopted, shall not conflict with, but shall be in addition to any prohibition of General Municipal Law Sections 800-809 or any other general or special law relating to ethical conduct and interest in contracts of Board members and employees.

Standards of Conduct

Every Board member or employee of the Cooperstown Central School District shall be subject to and abide by the following standards of conduct:

Gifts

Pursuant to General Municipal Law Section 805-a, he/she shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit any gift or accept or receive any gift having a value of seventy-five dollars ($75) or more, whether in the form of money, services, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred that the gift was intended or expected to influence him/her in the performance of official duties or was intended as a reward for any official action on his/her part.

Confidential Information

He/she shall not disclose confidential information acquired by him/her in the course of his/her official duties or use such information to further his/her personal interest.

Disclosure of Interest in Contracts (Conflict of Interest)

Any District officer or employee, as well as his/her spouse, who has, will have, or later acquires an interest in any actual or proposed contract, purchase agreement, lease agreement or other agreement, including oral agreements, with the District shall publicly disclose the nature and extent of such interest in writing to his/her immediate supervisor and to the Board of Education as soon as he/she has knowledge of such actual or prospective interest. Such written disclosure shall be made part of and set forth in the Board minutes.

Representation Before One’s Own Agency

He/she shall not receive, or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any municipal agency of which he/she is an officer, member or employee or of any municipal agency over which he/she has jurisdiction or to which he/she has the power to appoint any member, officer or employee.

Representation Before Any Agency For A Contingent Fee

He/she shall not receive, or enter into any agreement, express or implied, for compensation for services to be rendered in relation to any matter before any agency of his/her municipality, whereby his/her compensation is to be dependent or contingent upon any action by such agency with respect to such matter, provided that this paragraph shall not prohibit the fixing at any time of fees based upon the reasonable value of services rendered.

Disclosure Of Interest In Resolution

To the extent that he/she knows thereof, a member of the Board of Education or employee of the Cooperstown Central School District, whether paid or unpaid, who participates in the discussion or gives official opinion to the Board of Education on any resolution before the Board of Education shall publicly disclose on the official record the nature and extent of any direct or indirect financial or other private interest he/she has in such resolution.  On or before the yearly reorganization meeting, each Board member shall complete a conflict of interest disclosure.

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Investments In Conflict With Official Duties

He/she shall not invest or hold any investment directly or indirectly in any financial, business, commercial, or other private transaction, that creates a conflict with his/her official duties.

Private Employment

He/she shall not engage in, solicit, negotiate for or promise to accept private employment or render services for private interests when such employment or service creates a conflict with or impairs the proper discharge of his/her official duties.

Legal Remedies

Future Employment

He/she shall not, after the termination of service or employment with the School District, appear before any board or agency of the Cooperstown Central School District in relation to any case, proceeding, or application in which he/she personally participated during the period of his/her service or employment or which was under his/her active consideration.

District Officers

In accordance with the Penal Law Section 60.27(5), if a District officer is convicted of a violation against the District under Penal Law Article 155 relating to larceny, the courts may require an amount of restitution up to the full amount of the offense or reparation up to the full amount of the actual out-of-pocket loss suffered by the District.

Board Members and Employees

Nothing herein shall be deemed to bar or prevent the timely filing by a present or former Board member or employee of any claim, account, demand or suit against the Cooperstown Central School District, or any agency thereof on behalf of himself/herself or any member of his/her family arising out of any personal injury or property damage or for any lawful benefit authorized or permitted by law.

Distribution/Posting of Code of Ethics

The Superintendent of the Cooperstown Central School District shall cause a copy of this code of ethics to be distributed to every Board member and employee of the School District within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this resolution.  Each Board member and employee elected or appointed thereafter shall be furnished a copy before entering upon the duties of his/her office or employment.  The Superintendent shall also cause a copy of General Municipal Law Sections 800-809 to be kept posted in each building in the District in a place conspicuous to its Board members and employees.  Failure to distribute any such copy of this code of ethics or failure of any Board member or employee to receive such copy, as well as failure to post any such copy of General Municipal Law Sections 800-809, shall have no effect on the duty of compliance with such code of ethics or General Municipal Law Sections 800-809, nor with the enforcement of provisions thereof.

Penalties

In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended or removed from office or employment, as the case may be, in the manner provided by law.

General Municipal Law, Article 18 and Sections 800-809

Education Law Section 410; Labor Law 201-d

Penal Law Article 155 and Section 60.27(5)

Adopted:  11/16/05
Amended:  08/20/14

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Policy 6111 Testing Misconduct and Mandatory Reporting Requirements

School District employees are expressly prohibited from: engaging in testing misconduct, as that term is described in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education; assisting in the engagement of, or soliciting another to engage in testing misconduct; and/or the knowing failure to report testing misconduct. When committed by an employee of the School District in a position for which a teaching or school leader certificate is required, such actions or inactions will be deemed to raise a reasonable question of moral character under Part 83 of the Commissioner’s Regulations. A School District employee in a position for which a teaching or school leader certificate is not required who commits an unlawful act in respect to examination and records will be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Education in a manner consistent with New York State law and regulation.

School District employees will report to the State Education Department any known incident of testing misconduct by a certified educator or any known conduct by a non-certified individual involved in the handling, administration or scoring of state assessments in violation of New York State law. Such report will be made in accordance with directions and procedures established by the Commissioner for the purpose of maintaining the security and confidential integrity of State assessments.

The School District will not dismiss or take other disciplinary or adverse action against an employee because he/she submitted a report regarding testing misconduct to the State Education Department. Any such adverse action by an individual holding a teaching or school leader certificate will be deemed to raise a reasonable question of moral character under Part 83 of the Commissioner’s Regulations and may be referred to the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability at the State Education Department.

8 NYCRR Section 102.4

Adopted:  11/05/14

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Policy 6120 Equal Employment Opportunity

It is the policy of this District to provide, through a positive and effective program, equal opportunities for employment, retention and advancement of all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, military status, veteran status, or disability.

Sexual orientation is defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.

The term “military status” means a person’s participation in the military service of the United States or the military service of the state, including but not limited to, the armed forces of the United States, the army national guard, the air national guard, the New York naval militia, the New York guard, and such additional forces as may be created by the federal or state government as authorized by law.

Provisions will be provided for the publication and dissemination, internally and externally, of this policy to ensure its availability to interested citizens and groups.

Additionally, administration shall establish grievance procedures that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging discrimination.  Those intending to file a grievance due to alleged discrimination must follow the grievance procedure as established by the District.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act,

29 United States Code (USC) Section 621

Americans With Disabilities Act,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 12101 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,

29 United States Code (USC) Section 794 et seq.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-d, et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-e et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,

20 United States Code (USC) Section 1681 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

Civil Rights Law Section 40-c

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.

Executive Law Section 290 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, military status, or marital status.

Military Law Sections 242 and 243

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6121 Sexual Harassment of District Personnel

The Board of Education affirms its commitment to non-discrimination and recognizes its responsibility to provide for all District employees an environment that is free of sexual harassment and intimidation.  Sexual harassment is a violation of law and stands in direct opposition to District policy.  Therefore, the Board prohibits and condemns all forms of sexual harassment by employees, school volunteers, students, and non-employees such as contractors and vendors which occur on school grounds and at all school-sponsored events, programs and activities including those that take place at locations off school premises.  Generally, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals; and
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Board acknowledges that in determining whether sexual harassment has occurred the totality of the circumstances should be evaluated.  The Board recognizes that sexual harassment can originate from a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, and from co-workers as well as supervisors, and from a third party such as a school visitor, volunteer, or vendor, or any other individual associated with the School District.

In order for the Board to enforce this policy, and to take corrective measures as may be necessary, it is essential that any employee who believes he/she has been a victim of sexual harassment in the work environment, as well as any other person who is aware of and/or who has knowledge of or witnesses any possible occurrence of sexual harassment, immediately report such alleged harassment to the District’s designated complaint officer(s) through informal and/or formal complaint procedures as developed by the District.  Such complaints are recommended to be in writing, although verbal complaints of alleged sexual harassment will also be promptly investigated in accordance with the terms of this policy.  In the event that the complaint officer is the alleged offender, the employee should report his/her complaint to the next level of supervisory authority.

Upon receipt of an informal/formal complaint, the District will conduct a thorough investigation of the charges.  However, even in the absence of a complaint, if the District has knowledge of or has reason to know of or suspect any occurrence of sexual harassment, the District will investigate such conduct promptly and thoroughly.

To the extent possible, within legal constraints, all complaints will be treated as confidentially and privately as possible.  However, disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation of the charges, and any disclosure will be provided on a “need to know” basis.

Based upon the results of the investigation, if the District determines that an employee has violated the terms of this policy and/or accompanying regulations, immediate corrective action will be taken, as warranted, up to and including termination of the offender’s employment in accordance with legal guidelines, District policy and regulation, the District’s Code of Conduct, and the applicable collective bargaining agreement(s).  Third parties (such as school volunteers, vendors, etc.) who are found to have violated this policy and/or accompanying regulations will be subject to appropriate sanctions as warranted and in compliance with law.

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Finding That Harassment Did Not Occur

At any level/stage of investigation of alleged harassment, if a determination is made that harassment did not occur, the Complaint Officer will so notify the complainant, the alleged offender and the Superintendent of this determination. Such a finding does not preclude the complainant from filing an appeal pursuant to District policy or regulation and/or pursuing other legal avenues of recourse.

However, even if a determination is made that harassment did not occur, the Superintendent/designee reserves the right to initiate staff awareness and training, as applicable, to help ensure that the school community is not conducive to fostering harassment in the workplace.

In all cases, the Superintendent will inform the Board of Education of the results of each investigation involving a finding that harassment did not occur.

Knowingly Makes False Accusations

Employees and/or students who knowingly make false accusations against another individual as to allegations of harassment may also face appropriate disciplinary action.

Regulations will be developed for reporting, investigating and remedying allegations of sexual harassment.  An appeal procedure will also be provided to address any unresolved complaints and/or unsatisfactory prior determinations by the applicable complaint officer(s).

Such regulations will be developed in accordance with federal and state law as well as any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s).

The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment.  Follow-up inquiries shall be made to ensure that harassment has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation of the sexual harassment complaint have not suffered retaliation.

Regulations will be developed for reporting, investigating and remedying allegations of sexual harassment. An appeal procedure will also be provided to address any unresolved complaints and/or unsatisfactory prior determinations by the applicable complaint officer(s).

Such regulations will be developed in accordance with federal and state law as well as any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s).

The Superintendent/designee(s) will affirmatively discuss the topic of sexual harassment with all employees, express the District’s condemnation of such conduct, and explain the sanctions for harassment. Training programs will be established for employees to help ensure awareness of the issues pertaining to sexual harassment in the workplace, and to disseminate preventative measures to help reduce such incidents of prohibited conduct.  Furthermore, special training will be provided for designated supervisors and managerial employees, as may be necessary, for the investigation of sexual harassment complaints.

A copy of this policy and its accompanying regulations will be available upon request and may be posted at various locations in each school building.  The District’s policy and regulations on sexual harassment will be published in appropriate school publications such as teacher/employee handbooks and/or school calendars.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-e et seq.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991

42 United States Code (USC) Section 1981(a)

29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Section 1604.11(a)

Executive Law Sections 296 and 297

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6122 Complaints and Grievances by Employees

In accordance with the provisions of General Municipal Law and the collective bargaining agreements, all District personnel shall have the opportunity to present their complaints or grievances free from interference, coercion, restraint, discrimination or reprisal. The District shall provide at least two (2) procedural stages and an appellate stage for the settlement of any grievance.

Complaints or grievances not covered under employee contracts shall be handled and resolved, whenever possible, as close to their origin as possible. The Superintendent is responsible for implementing regulations for the redress of complaints or grievances through proper administrative channels.

Complaints and Grievances Coordinator

Additionally, the Board shall ensure compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The Superintendent shall designate a District employee as the Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator; and regulations and procedures shall be implemented to resolve complaints of discrimination based on sex or disability.

Prior to the beginning of each school year, the District shall issue an appropriate public announcement which advises students, parents/guardian, employees and the general public of the District’s established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination based on sex or disability. Included in such announcement will be the name, address and telephone number of the Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator.

The Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator shall also be responsible for handling complaints and grievances regarding discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, age, military status, veteran status or marital status.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act,

29 United States Code (USC) Section 621.

Americans With Disabilities Act,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 12101 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,

29 United States Code (USC) Section 794 et seq.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-d, et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,

42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-e, et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,

20 United States Code (USC) Section 1681 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

Civil Rights Law Section 40-c

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.

Executive Law Section 290 et seq.

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, military status, or marital status.

Military Law Sections 242 and 243

NOTE: Refer also to Policy #3420 — Anti-Harassment in the School District

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6130 Evaluation of Personnel:  Purposes

The Cooperstown Central School District is committed to supporting the development of effective teachers and administrators. To this end, the District shall provide procedures for the evaluation of all professional staff. District plans for Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) of teachers and Principals shall be developed in accordance with applicable laws, Commissioner’s Regulations, and Rules of the Board of Regents.

The primary purposes of these evaluations are:

  1. To encourage and promote improved performance;
  2. To guide professional development efforts; and
  3. To provide a basis for evaluative judgments by applicable school officials.

APPR Ratings

For those teachers and Principals subject to Education Law 3012-c, the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) will result in a single composite effectiveness score and final quality rating of “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing,” or “ineffective.” The composite score will be determined as follows:

  1. 20% – student growth on state assessments or other comparable measures of student growth (increases to 25% upon implementation of a value-added growth model);
  2. 20% – locally selected measures of student growth or achievement that are determined to be rigorous and comparable across classrooms as defined by the Commissioner (decreases to 15% upon implementation of a value-added growth model); and
  3. 60% – other measures of teacher/Principal effectiveness consistent with standards prescribed by the Commissioner in regulation.

The ratings scale based on composite scores has been established as follows:

  1. Highly Effective = composite effectiveness score of 91-100
  2. Effective = composite effectiveness score of 75-90
  3. Developing = composite effectiveness score of 65-74
  4. Ineffective = composite effectiveness score of 0-64

If a teacher or Principal is rated “developing” or “ineffective,” the School District will develop and implement a teacher or Principal improvement plan (TIP or PIP). Tenured teachers and Principals with a pattern of ineffective teaching or performance, defined as two consecutive annual “ineffective” ratings, may be charged with incompetence and considered for termination through an expedited hearing process.

The School District will ensure that all evaluators are appropriately trained consistent with standards prescribed by the Commissioner and that an appeals procedure is locally developed.

Disclosure of APPR Data

Consistent with Chapter 68 of the Laws of 2012, which amends Education Law 3012-c, the Commissioner is required to disclose professional performance review data for teachers and Principals on the New York State Education Department (NYSED) website and in any other manner to make such data widely available to the public. However, the release of such aggregate data may not include personally identifiable information for any teacher or Principal. Such public disclosure of final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores will be suitable for research, analysis and comparison of APPR data for teachers and Principals across the state.

Upon written request to the Director of Student Services/Executive Principal, the District will release to parents/legal guardians the final quality ratings and composite effectiveness scores for teachers and Principals to which their student is currently assigned. The District’s obligation to disclose this information is limited to those teachers and Building Principals subject to Education Law 3012-c. The District will provide conspicuous notice to parents/legal guardians of their right to obtain such information and the methods by which the data can be obtained. Specifically, said notice shall appear on the Cooperstown Central School District web site at www.coopertowncs.org.  Upon request, parents will receive an oral or written explanation of the composite effectiveness scoring ranges for final quality ratings and be offered the opportunity to understand such scores in the context of teacher evaluation and student performance. When a request for this information is received, reasonable efforts will be made to verify that it is a bona fide request by a parent/legal guardian entitled to review the data.

Annual professional performance reviews of individual teachers and Principals shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

Education Law Section 3012-c

Public Officers Law Sections 87 and 89

8 NYCRR Sections 30-2 and 100.2(o)

Adoption Date: 11/16/05

Amended:  12/18/13

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Policy 6140 Health Examinations

The Board reserves the right to request a health examination at any time during employment in order to determine whether an employee has the physical or mental capacity to perform his/her duties.  When such examination is requested, the cost of such examination shall be borne by the District and the examination shall be conducted by a physician chosen by the District.

Annual or more frequent examinations of any employee may be required, when, in the judgment of the school physician/nurse practitioner and the Superintendent, such procedure is deemed necessary.

All bus drivers and substitute bus drivers shall have yearly physical examinations.  Each bus driver initially employed by the School District shall have a physical examination within the four (4) weeks prior to the beginning of service.  In no case shall the interval between physical examinations exceed a thirteen-month period.

The final acceptance or rejection of a medical report with reference to the health of an employee lies within the discretion of the Board. The decision of the physician designated by the Board as the determining physician shall take precedence over all other medical advice.

All medical and health related information will be kept in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Education Law Sections 913 and 3624

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 156.3(2)

10 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 14

15 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 6

Adopted:  11/16/05

Amended: 05/19/10

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Policy 6150 Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances  (School Personnel)

The Board of Education, recognizing that students are often influenced by teachers and other members of a school’s staff, impresses upon staff members the importance of maintaining a high level of professionalism appropriate to their position, which, in turn, shall set a positive example for students.

The Board, therefore, prohibits the consumption, sharing and/or selling, use and/or possession of illegal drugs, counterfeit and designer drugs or alcoholic beverages in the workplace, or when the effects of such drugs and/or alcohol use may impair an employee’s job performance.

Information about any drug and alcohol counseling and/or rehabilitation programs shall be made available to employees. Data will also include the range of penalties, (consistent with local, state and federal law), up to and including termination of employment and referral for prosecution that will be imposed on employees who have transgressed the terms of this policy.

Additionally, confidentiality shall be ensured as required by state and federal law.

The Superintendent/designee shall periodically review the drug and alcohol abuse prevention program to determine its effectiveness and support appropriate modifications, as needed.

Education Law Sections 913, 1711(2)(e), 2508(5) and 3020-a

Civil Service Law Section 75

Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

20 United States Code (USC) Section 7101 et seq.

NOTE: Refer also to Policies #3410 — Code of Conduct on School Property

#6560 — Employee Assistance Program

#7320 — Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Other Substances (Students)

District Code of Conduct on School Property

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6151 Drug-Free Workplace

It shall be the general policy of the Board of Education to affirm that all programs in the District that receive Federal funds shall guarantee that their workplaces are free of controlled substances. “Controlled substance” means a controlled substance in schedules I through V of Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC 812) and as further defined in regulation at 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1308.11-1308.15.  An acknowledgment form shall be signed by the Superintendent indicating that the District is in full compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act.  This policy shall guarantee that not only Federally funded programs, but the entire District is free of controlled substances.

“Workplace” is defined as a school building or other school premises; any school-owned vehicle or any other school-approved vehicle used to transport students to and from school or school activities; off school property during any school-sponsored or school-approved activity, event or function, such as a field trip or athletic event, where students are under the jurisdiction of the School District.

The Board of Education directs the administration to develop regulations to comply with this policy, and further supports such actions and activities of the administration as shall be required to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Drug-Free Workplace Act

20 United State Code (USC) Section 7101 et seq.

21 United State Code (USC) Section 812

21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

1308.11-1308.15

34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 85

NOTE:      Refer also to Policies #3410 — Code of Conduct on School Property

#6150 — Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances (School Personnel)

#6560 — Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

#7320 — Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Other Substances (Students)

District Code of Conduct on School Property

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6160 Professional Growth/Staff Development

It is the policy of the District that attention be given to in-service, pre-service, and other staff development programs which are believed to be of benefit to the School District and its students.  The Superintendent, in consultation with the appropriate administrative staff and/or teacher committees, is directed to arrange in-service programs and other staff development opportunities which will provide for the selection of subjects pertinent to the curriculum in the schools, to build from these subjects those topics or courses for in-service or staff development which will help employees acquire new methods of performing their job responsibilities or help staff improve on those techniques which are already being used in the schools, with the objective of improving professional competencies.

It is recommended that administration develop meaningful in-service and/or staff development programs which will achieve the following:

  1. Contribute to the instructional program of the schools;
  2. Contribute to improved education for students;
  3. Achieve state mandates;
  4. Enhance the professional competencies and/or instructional abilities of staff members.

The Board of Education, therefore, encourages all employees to improve their competencies beyond that which they may obtain through the regular performance of their assigned duties. Opportunities should be provided for:

  1. Planned in-service programs, courses, seminars, and workshops offered both within the School System and outside the District.
  2. Visits to other classrooms and schools, as well as attendance at professional meetings, for the purpose of improving instruction and/or educational services.

Orientation/re-orientation of staff members to program and/or organizational changes as well as District expectations.

Attendance at such professional development programs must be directly linked to the duties and responsibilities comprising the job description of the employee.  Consequently, employees are encouraged to participate in the planning of staff development programs designed to meet their specific needs.

Members of the staff are also encouraged to continue their formal education as well as to attend their respective work-related workshops, conferences and meetings.

Funds for participating at such conferences, conventions, and other similar professional development programs will be budgeted for by the Board of Education on an annual basis. Reimbursement to District staff for all actual and necessary registration fees, expenses of travel, meals and lodging, and all necessary tuition fees incurred in connection with attendance at conferences and the like will be in accordance with established regulations for conference attendance and expense reimbursement.

The Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee has authority to approve release time and expenses for staff members’ attendance at professional training conferences, study councils, in-service courses, workshops, summer study grants, school visitations, professional organizations and the like within budgetary constraints.

A conference request form/course approval form must be submitted by the employee and approved by the designated administrator prior to the employee’s attendance at such conference or other professional development program.

Mentoring Programs for First Year Teachers

Effective February 2, 2004, first year teachers must participate in a mentoring program as a component of the School District’s Professional Development Plan.  The purpose of the mentoring program is to increase the retention of new teachers and improve their ability to assist students in attaining State learning standards.  The mentor’s role is to provide guidance and support to a new teacher.  However, additional mentor responsibilities may be negotiated and reflected in a collective bargaining agreement.

Education Law Section 1604(27)

General Municipal Law Sections 77-b and 77 -c

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) 102.2(dd)

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6161 Professional Certification:  175 Hours of Professional Development Requirement

All District employees who hold professional teaching certificates for classroom teaching are required to complete professional development hours to maintain the validity of their certificates. Professional certificate holders must complete 175 hours every five (5) years. The five-year professional development period commences on July 1 after the effective date of the triggering certificate, and each subsequent five-year period thereafter. Each professional development year of the five-year cycle of professional development begins on July 1 and ends the following June 30.  The professional development requirement may be completed at any time during the five-year professional development period.

Decisions regarding content, delivery and providers of such professional development are within the purview of the School District and shall be made within the context of the District Professional Development Plan. The Professional Development Plan shall describe how the School District will provide teachers it employs holding a professional certificate with opportunities to maintain such certificates in good standing based upon successfully completing 175 hours of professional development every five (5) years in accordance with Commissioner’s Regulations.

If the professional certificate holder wishes to maintain the validity of his/her New York State professional certificate, he/she must satisfy the professional development requirement. If the certificate holder teaches less than ninety (90) days in a given school year for any reason, including an approved leave, the required hours are reduced by ten percent (10%) for each school year during which this is the case.

District Recordkeeping Responsibilities

If the School District provides professional development to teachers in its schools, or professional development is provided by other entities on behalf of the District, the District must maintain a record of professional development completed by its teachers who are required to complete this requirement. Such records shall include those items enumerated in Commissioner’s Regulations Section 100.2(dd)(5):

  1. The name of the professional certificate holder;
  2. His/her teacher certification identification number;
  3. The title of the program;
  4. The number of hours completed; and
  5. The date and location of the program.

These records shall be retained by the District for at least seven (7) years from the date of completion of the professional development by the professional certificate holder and shall be available for review by the State Education Department (SED).

District Reporting Responsibilities

Annually, the School District must report to the New York State Education Department (SED) Office of Higher Education’s Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) the number of all approved professional development hours completed by each teacher who is employed by the District and subject to the professional development requirement, regardless of the professional development provider.

All hours of completed professional development reported by Districts will become part of the certificate holder’s certification record maintained by OTI. Teachers with professional certificates must complete the required number of hours of professional development every five (5) years for their certificates to remain valid.

The School District is required to report professional development hours for its employees online directly via the Web-based computer system TEACH (Teacher Education and Certification Help).

Certificate Holder Responsibilities

All professional certificate holders must keep records of all of their approved professional development activities/programs/coursework, regardless of the provider, for at least seven (7) years from the date of completion of the program and shall be available for review by SED. Such records shall include those items enumerated in Commissioner’s Regulations Section 80-3.6(f):

  1. The title of the program;
  2. The number of hours completed;
  3. The sponsor’s name and any identifying number;
  4. Attendance verification; and
  5. The date and location of the program.

While it is the responsibility of the District to report hours, it is in the interest of every professional certificate holder to verify that their professional development hours are reported and that their individual record is complete.  It is recommended that professional certificate holders develop their personal professional development plan in consultation with the District, and obtain District approval before commencing any professional development activities.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Subpart 80-3 and Section 100.2(dd)

Adopted:  03/05/08

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Policy 6170 Safety of Students (Fingerprinting Clearance of New Hires)

Unless otherwise authorized in accordance with law and regulation, the District shall not employ or utilize a prospective school employee, as defined below, unless such prospective school employee has been granted a “full” clearance for employment by the State Education Department (SED).  The School District shall require a prospective school employee who is not in the SED criminal history file to be fingerprinted for purposes of a criminal history record check by authorized personnel of the designated fingerprinting entity.  For purposes of this provision of law, the term “criminal history record” shall mean a record of all convictions of crimes and any pending criminal charges maintained on an individual by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The District shall utilize SED’s Web-based application known as TEACH for instantaneous access to important information about certification and fingerprinting.  Through TEACH, SED provides an individual with the ability to apply for fingerprint clearance for certification and/or employment and view the status of his/her fingerprint clearance request.  Through TEACH, the School District is able, among other applications, to submit an online request for fingerprint clearance for a prospective employee, view the status of a fingerprint clearance request, and determine whether a subsequent arrest letter has been issued.

Safety of Students

The District will develop internal building and/or program procedures to help ensure the safety of students who have contact with an employee holding conditional appointment or emergency conditional appointment.  Such   procedures will address  the  safety  of  students  in  the  classroom, students attending off-campus activities under the supervision of the School District, and students participating in extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities (including sports and athletic activities).

Safety procedures to be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following: supervision of the employee holding conditional appointment/emergency conditional appointment as determined appropriate by the applicable building/program administrator; and periodic visitations by the building/program administrator to the classroom, program and/or activity assigned to the employee holding conditional appointment/emergency conditional appointment.

“Sunset” Provision for Conditional Appointments/Emergency Conditional Appointments

The provisions in law which permit the conditional appointment and/or emergency conditional appointment of employees pending full clearance from SED shall terminate, in accordance with legislation, on July 1, 2010; and shall be rescinded as Board policy and procedure as of that date (unless subsequent revisions to applicable law provide otherwise).

Access to TEACH

Information regarding fingerprinting of new hires, including relevant laws and regulations, frequently asked questions (FAQs), an up-to-date chart for “Who Must be Fingerprinted”, and instructions on the fingerprinting process are found on www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ospra.  To request access to TEACH, email TEACHHELP @mail.nysed.gov.

Correction Law Article 23-A

Education Law Sections 305(30), 305(33), 1604, 1709, 1804, 1950, 2503, 2554, 2590-h, 2854, 3004-b, 3004-c, and 3035

Executive Law Section 296(16)

Social Services Law Article 5, Title 9-B

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 80-1.11 and Part 87

Adopted:  11/16/05
Amended: 04/07/10

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Policy 6180 Grade/Department Chairperson and Team Leader Program

To provide the mechanism needed to achieve faculty involvement in various aspects of school governance the Board of Education endorses the Grade/Department Chairperson and Team Leader Program.

The Board may designate each spring the educational areas to be represented in the program and may appoint chairs or team leaders for these areas. The designations and the appointments are for the ensuing year.

The Grade/Department Chairpersons or Team Leaders are charged with the responsibility of enhancing the faculty’s role in a school wide effort to improve policies, programs and student achievements.

The appointees will be given the time and compensation for their leadership role as provided in the current faculty association contract.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6190 Staff-Student Relations (Fraternization)

The Board of Education requires that all School District employees maintain a professional, ethical relationship with District students that is conducive to an effective, safe learning environment; and that staff members act as role models for students at all times, whether on or off school property and both during and outside of school hours. Staff must establish appropriate personal boundaries with students and not engage in any behavior that could reasonably lead to even the appearance of impropriety.

Staff members are prohibited, under any circumstances, to date or engage in any improper fraternization or undue familiarity with students, regardless of the student’s age and/or regardless of whether the student may have “consented” to such conduct. Further, employees shall not entertain students or socialize with students in such a manner as to create the perception that a dating relationship exists. Similarly, any action or comment by a staff member which invites romantic or sexual involvement with a student is considered highly unethical, in violation of District policy, and may result in the notification of law enforcement officials and the filing of criminal charges and/or disciplinary action by the District up to and including termination of employment.

Inappropriate employee behavior includes, but is not limited to, flirting; making suggestive comments; dating; requests for sexual activity; physical displays of affection; giving inappropriate personal gifts; frequent personal communication with a student unrelated to course work or official school matters; providing alcohol or drugs to students; inappropriate touching; and engaging in sexual contact and/or sexual relations. (“Frequent personal communication with a student unrelated to course work or official school matters” means any form in which that personal communication may occur including, but not limited to, voice or text-based communication via phone, e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging or through social networking Web sites.)

Even if the student participated “willingly” in the activity (regardless of the student’s age), inappropriate fraternization of staff with students is against District policy and may be in violation of professional standards of conduct and New York State Law. However, inappropriate employee conduct does not need to rise to the level of criminal activity for such conduct to be in violation of District rules and subject to appropriate disciplinary sanctions.

Any student who believes that he/she has been subjected to inappropriate staff behavior as enumerated in this policy, as well as students, school employees or third parties who have knowledge of or witness any possible occurrence of inappropriate staff-student relations, shall report the incident to any staff member or either the employee’s supervisor, the student’s Principal or the District’s designated Complaint Officer. In all events, such reports shall be forwarded to the designated Complaint Officer for further investigation. Anonymous complaints of inappropriate fraternization of staff members with students shall also be investigated by the District. Investigations of allegations of inappropriate staff-student relations shall follow the procedures utilized for complaints of harassment within the School District. Allegations of inappropriate staff-student behavior shall be promptly investigated and will be treated as confidential and private to the extent possible within legal constraints.

Any employee having knowledge of or reasonable suspicion that another employee may have engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student that may constitute child abuse (specifically, child abuse in an educational setting) must also follow the District’s reporting procedures for such allegations; and such information will be reported by the designated administrator as required by State law to law enforcement officials, the State Education Department and/or Child Protective Services as may be applicable.

If a student initiates inappropriate behavior toward a staff member, that employee shall document the incident and report it to his/her Building Principal or Supervisor.

The District shall promptly investigate all complaints of inappropriate staff-student relations, and take prompt corrective action to stop such conduct if it occurs.

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Prohibition of Retaliation

The Board of Education prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participate in the investigation of allegations of inappropriate staff-student relations.  Follow-up inquiries and/or appropriate monitoring shall be made to ensure that the alleged conduct has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation have not suffered retaliation.  Any act of retaliation is subject to appropriate disciplinary action by the District.

District Responsibility/Training

The Principal of each school and/or program supervisor shall be responsible for informing students, staff and volunteers of the requirements of this policy, including the duty to report and the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints.  Further, staff training shall be provided to facilitate staff identification of possible behavior that may constitute inappropriate staff-student relationships.  Students shall be provided such training in an age appropriate manner.

The District’s policy (or a summary thereof) shall be disseminated as appropriate to staff, students and parents.  Further, this topic shall be addressed in the District Code of Conduct.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Any staff member who engages in inappropriate conduct with a student, prohibited by the terms of this policy, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment in accordance with legal guidelines, District policy and regulation, and the applicable collective bargaining agreement.  A violation of this policy may also subject the employee to criminal and/or civil sanctions as well as disciplinary action by the State Education Department.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1681 et seq.

Education Law Article 23-B

Social Services Law Sections 411-428

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 83

Adopted:   04/07/10

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Policy 6210 Certified Personnel

The Board of Education shall, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, create, abolish, maintain and/or consolidate positions involving certified persons as necessary for the proper and efficient achievement of its goals.

All assignments and transfers shall be made in accordance with the provisions of law, Board of Education policies, and the employee’s negotiated agreement.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 30

Education Law Sections 2510 and 3013

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6211 Recruitment

The District will attempt to employ the best qualified personnel for any position.

Professional personnel shall be recruited and selected by, or at the direction of, the Superintendent of Schools, who shall recommend appointment to the Board of Education.

The District shall provide equal opportunity in employment for all qualified persons in accordance with Federal and State legislation.

The American With Disabilities Act, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 12101 et seq.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 United States Code (USC) Section 621

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 United States Code (USC) Section 794 et seq.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-d et seq.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000-e et seq.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1681 et seq.

Civil Rights Law Section 40-c

Education Law Section 3012

Executive Law Section 290 et seq.

Military Law Sections 242 and 243

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6212 Certification and Qualifications

  1. In accordance with applicable statutes, Rules of the Board of Regents, and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, each employee whose employment requires certification or other licensure shall inform the Superintendent of Schools immediately of any change in the status of his/her certification or licensure. The changes shall include, but not be limited to, the granting, revocation, upgrading, expiration, conversion and/or extension of these documents as to their periods of validity or their titles.
  2. The original certificates and/or licenses must be presented for examination and copying in the office of the Superintendent of Schools as soon as they are available to the employee. The copies will be maintained in the employee’s personnel file in support of the legitimate employment of each affected employee. The failure of any such employee to possess the required certification or other licensure may result in the discharge of that employee.
  3. Whether or not the District verifies an individual’s certification or licensure does not waive the responsibility of the employee to maintain what is required for his/her assignment.

Qualifications of Teachers

  1. The District must ensure that all newly hired teachers in Title I programs who teach core academic subjects are highly qualified per Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.  The term “core academic subjects” means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. A “highly qualified” teacher is one who has obtained full state certification as a teacher, or has passed the state teacher licensing examination, holds a license to teach in the state and has at least a bachelor’s degree, and also must show subject matter competency in the subjects they teach.
  2. The District is also required to provide to teachers who are not new to the profession the opportunity to meet the NCLB requirement to be highly qualified, in part, through passing a High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE).  The HOUSSE shall be an evaluation, prescribed by the New York State Education Department and conducted locally either during a pre-employment review or at the time of an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), that enables a teacher who is beyond the first year of teaching to demonstrate subject matter competency in all core academic subjects that the teacher teaches.  The evaluation shall be based upon objective, coherent information as prescribed by the department, and shall include, but not be limited to, information on the teacher’s education, credentials, professional experience, and professional development.

Education Law Sections 3001, 3001-a, 3004, 3006 and 3008

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

Subparts 80-1, 80-2, 80-3, 100.2 (dd) and 100.2 (o)

34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 200.55 and 200.56

20 United States Code (USC) Section 7801 (23)

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6213 Incidental Teaching

The Superintendent may assign a teacher to teach a subject not covered by such teacher’s certificate or license for a period not to exceed five (5) classroom hours a week, when no certified or qualified teacher is available after extensive and documented recruitment efforts, and provided that approval of the Commissioner of Education is obtained in accordance with the requirements as enumerated in Commissioner’s Regulations.

Not later than twenty (20) business days after such an assignment, the Superintendent shall submit for approval an application, in a form satisfactory to the Commissioner, containing the following information:

  1. Evidence of extensive recruitment of a teacher certified in the appropriate area;
  2. The name and certification status of the teacher given such assignment;
  3. The subject which the teacher is being assigned to teach on an incidental basis and the total number of classes in the subject being taught on an incidental basis;
  4. The qualifications of the teacher to teach such subject on an incidental basis;
  5. The specific reasons why an incidental assignment is necessary;
  6. The anticipated duration of the incidental teaching assignment; and
  7. The number of applications, approved or pending, for authorization to make incidental teaching assignments in the same certification area for which the current authorization is being sought.

To be approved, the application shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that an incidental teaching assignment is necessary, that the teacher assigned is the best qualified to teach the subject on an incidental basis, and that the requirements of Commissioner’s Regulations have been met.

The Commissioner will issue a determination within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the District’s application.

In the event that the application is disapproved, the Superintendent, within seven (7) business days of receipt of the notice of disapproval, shall terminate the incidental assignment.  In the event that the application is approved, such approval shall be deemed to have commenced on the date of the incidental teaching assignment and shall terminate on the last day of the school year for which it is granted.

The Superintendent may renew an incidental teaching assignment, in accordance with the requirements of Commissioner’s Regulations, for any subsequent school year.  In addition to submitting to the Commissioner the information noted above for initial approval of an incidental teaching assignment, a renewal application must provide a number of assurances, including that the teacher assigned a course on an incidental basis has completed, or has agreed to complete, within the prescribed time period, at least three (3) semester hours of credit or the equivalent leading to certification in the subject area of the incidental assignment.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 80-5.3

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6214 Probation and Tenure

Probation

Certified staff members shall be appointed to a probationary period by a majority vote of the Board of Education upon recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools.

Full-time certified staff members shall be appointed to a probationary period of three (3) years. However, the probationary period shall not exceed two (2) years for teachers previously appointed to tenure in this or another school district or BOCES within the state, provided the teacher was not dismissed from the former district. Additionally, up to two (2) years of service as a regular substitute teacher may be applied towards probationary service. This is sometimes referred to as Jarema Credit.

During the probationary period, a staff member shall be given assistance in adjusting to the new position, but the essential qualifications for acceptable performance shall be assumed because of the possession by the staff member of the required certification or license.

Tenure

Certified staff members successfully completing a probationary period in the Cooperstown Central School District may be recommended (by the Superintendent of Schools) to the Board of Education for tenure appointment.

The Board will follow all applicable statutes regarding tenure.

Education Law Sections 2509, 3012 and 3031

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6215 Disciplining of a Tenured Teacher or Certified Personnel

Tenured teachers and certain certified personnel may be subject to disciplinary charges that are set forth in Section 3012 of the Education Law.

Procedures for a hearing regarding these disciplinary measures will be in accordance with Section 3020-a of the Education Law and/or in accordance with applicable contractual provisions.

Education Law Sections 3012 and 3020-a

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Subpart 82-1

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6216 Professional Staff:  Separation

If the Superintendent will be submitting to the Board a negative recommendation for tenure or a recommendation to discontinue the services of a probationary professional staff member, the Superintendent must give the probationary employee thirty (30) days notice prior to the Board meeting at which such recommendation will be considered. If a majority of the Board accepts the recommendation and votes to dismiss, the professional staff member must then be given a written notice at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of termination of services. The District will adhere to all other statutory timeframes.

The Board shall expect any professional staff member desiring to terminate his/her services to provide the Board with a minimum of thirty (30) days notice before the effective termination date.

When possible, a professional staff member shall make every effort to terminate employment at the end of the school year. Resignations must be in writing and include the effective date.

Education Law Sections 2509, 3012, 3019-a, and 3031

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6217 Employment of Relatives of Board of Education Members

The appointment of a teacher who is related by bloodline or legal process (including marriage) to any member of the Board of Education shall be subject to the consent of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Board of Education to be determined at a Board meeting and to be entered upon the proceedings of the Board.

The Board shall take the same stance in the hiring of professional staff other than teachers.

Education Law Section 3016

General Municipal Law Sections 800-809

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6220 Temporary Personnel

District’s needs may sometimes require temporary appointments.  The terms of these appointments shall be defined by the Board of Education on a case-by-case basis.

Student Teachers

The Cooperstown Central School District shall cooperate with teacher training institutions in the placement of student teachers in order to provide beginning teachers with the best possible student teaching experience.

Student teachers shall be protected from liability for negligence or other acts resulting in accidental injury to any person by the School District, as provided by law.

Substitute Teachers

A substitute teacher qualified to teach in the Cooperstown Central School District shall be employed, whenever possible, by the Superintendent of Schools in the absence of a regular teacher. It is recognized that fully certified persons will not always be available for employment as substitute teachers.

The Board of Education shall establish the ordinary rate for per diem substitute teachers.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 80-5.4

Education Law Section 3023

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6230 Determination of Employment Status:  Employee or Independent Contractor

Regulations recently promulgated by the Office of the State Comptroller provide guidance to school districts to help them determine whether an individual is an employee, and therefore eligible for  membership in the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) and for service credit, or an independent contractor who is not eligible for membership.

A certification of the determination that an individual is an employee will now be required when the School District initially reports to the NYSLRS certain covered professionals — those persons providing services as an attorney, physician, engineer, architect, accountant or auditor.

Employee shall mean an individual performing services for the School District for which the District has the right to control the means and methods of what work will be done and how the work will be done. Independent contractor shall mean a consultant or other individual engaged to achieve a certain result who is not subject to the direction of the employer as to the means and methods of accomplishing the result.

Employees to be Reported to NYSLRS

Only persons who are active members of NYSLRS and who have been assigned a registration number shall be included in the reporting requirements. In the case of employees who are in the process of being registered to membership, all service, salary and deductions data and mandatory contributions shall be accumulated by the District and such accumulation shall be included with the first monthly report which is due after the employee’s  registration number has been assigned.

An individual serving the District as an independent contractor or consultant is not an employee and should not be reported to the retirement system.

The District has the primary responsibility for determining whether an individual is rendering services as an employee or as an independent contractor. When making such a determination the District must consider the factors enumerated in State Regulations.

The District shall also complete, as necessary, a Certification Form for Individuals Engaged in Certain Professions (Form RS2414) as promulgated by the Office of the New York State Comptroller. As noted on the Certification Form instructions, when making a determination as to an individual’s status as an employee or independent contractor, no single factor should be considered to be conclusive of the issue. All factors should be considered in making an assessment of an individual’s status when engaged to perform services.

Written Explanation by District: Certain Professions

In the case of an individual whose service has been engaged by the School District in the capacity of attorney, physician, engineer, architect, accountant or auditor and the District has determined that the individual is rendering service as an employee and, therefore, may be eligible for credit with a retirement system, the District shall submit to the retirement system, in a form prescribed by the Comptroller and certified by the Chief Fiscal Officer of the District, an explanation of the factors that led to the conclusion that the individual is an employee and not an independent contractor or consultant.

Retirement and Social Security Law Sections 11, 34, 311, and 334

2 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Sections 315.2 and 315.3

Adopted: 09/03/08

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Policy 6310 Appointment – Support Staff

The probationary period for all new civil service employees shall be for the maximum period established by the local Civil Service Commission.

The time, place, conditions of employment and transfer of support staff shall be vested in the Superintendent of Schools who shall conduct such actions in compliance with all applicable contract provisions.  The duties for each Civil Service employee shall be clearly defined.

Civil Service Law Section 63

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6311 Support Staff Recruiting

Realizing how important support staff is to the smooth operation of our school system, the District will attempt to attract the most qualified employees within the established salary range.

The following guidelines will be used in the recruiting and hiring procedures:

  1. The Superintendent will delegate to the appropriate supervisor the responsibility for implementing the recruitment procedure.
  2. All openings for positions will be properly advertised and will include a description of the position, salary range, the qualifications required and the procedure for application.
  3. All applications for full time employment will be submitted to the Superintendent, Principal or Business Manager as appropriate.
  4. A current job description will be available, and a copy will be given to each finalist who is interviewed.
  5. References will be contacted, and the information received will be included in the applicant’s file.
  6. All finalists for a position with the school will be interviewed by the Superintendent prior to recommending the applicant to the Board for appointment.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6320 Supplementary School Personnel

Teacher Aides

In accordance with the Regulations of the Commissioner, the Board of Education may employ teacher aides to assist in the daily operation of the school through non-teaching duties.

The duties and responsibilities to be assumed by teacher aides shall be outlined by the Superintendent. Teacher aides shall be responsible to the Building Principal/designee.

A teacher aide may be assigned to assist teachers in such non-teaching duties as:

  1. Managing records, materials and equipment;
  2. Attending to the physical needs of children; and
  3. Supervising students and performing such other services as support teaching duties when such services are determined and supervised by a teacher.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR)

Section 80-5.6

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6330 Support Staff Development Opportunities

The Board recognizes that continuing educational growth and increasing effectiveness of the support staff are essential for the success of the educational programs of the District. Therefore, continual educational growth of all staff members on an individual basis and through planned inservice programs will be encouraged. Such opportunities shall include, within budgetary limitations, special inservice workshops, summer work-projects, and participation in professional conferences and meetings.

The Superintendent will have the authority to approve released time for conferences and visitations, provided such activities are within budgetary allocations and the staff absences do not have a negative effect on the school program. Also, the Superintendent, with the input of the administrative and support staffs, will design and direct District programs for the continuing development of the support staff. A report on support staff development will be submitted to the Board each summer for the previous school year.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6340 Miscellaneous Support Staff

Compensation and Related Benefits

The salaries and related benefits of miscellaneous support staff shall be set annually by the Board of Education upon the recommendation of the Superintendent.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6410 Maintaining Discipline and Conduct

All personnel employed by the District are responsible for maintaining student discipline and appropriate conduct during school hours or at extracurricular events.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6420 Employee Personnel Records and Release of Information

Personnel Records

Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this policy to maintain a personnel file for each teacher, administrator and support staff member employed by the District.

Regulations and procedures will be developed addressing the inspection by District employees of their personnel files.

Release of Personnel Information

All steps should be taken to protect the privacy of the employees of the Board of Education.  To ensure the individual’s privacy, directory or confidential information should not be shared with a third party except in the following situations:

  1. When members of the Board of Education need information from the employee’s personnel record to aid them in performing their legal responsibilities in such matters as appointments, assignments, promotions, demotions, remuneration, discipline, dismissal or to aid in the development and implementation of personnel policies.
  2. When the employee grants permission.

Procedures for obtaining consent for release of records to third parties shall be developed by the administration.

Release of Information Concerning Former Employees

The District shall not release information concerning the employment records, personnel file or past performance of a former employee, unless such information is required to be disclosed by law. Only the initial and final dates of employment and the position held shall be provided through a written response to a written request.  The former employee may authorize the release of any additional information.

8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 84

Public Officers Law Section 87

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6430 Employee Activities

Political Activities

The Board of Education recognizes the right of its employees, as citizens, to engage in political activities and to exercise their constitutionally-protected rights to address matters of public concern.

However, a District employee’s constitutional rights to raise matters of public concern are limited when the speech or action occurs on school grounds and/or during school times.  When such speech or action occurs on school grounds and/or during school time, the Board of Education can impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of the speech or action, and can further regulate the content of such speech when it materially imperils the efficient operation of the school.

Teachers may not use their classrooms or school surroundings as a means to promote their personal political views and beliefs.  However, teachers are encouraged to address issues of current events for their instructional and informational value to students, to invite public and/or political figures to visit the classroom as a community resource, and to motivate students to participate in the political process.

Solicitations by Staff

Staff members shall not be engaged in advertising or commercial solicitations on school time, except as authorized by the Superintendent and/or designee.

NOTE: Refer also to Policy #5560 — Use of Federal Funds for Political Expenditures

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6440 Negotiations

Legal Status

The legal status for negotiations is the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Law (Taylor Law), Article 14 of the Civil Service Law.

Organizations recognized for the purposes of collective bargaining include:

  1. Cooperstown Central School District Faculty Association; and
  2. Cooperstown Central School District Service Unit.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6450 Theft of Services or Property

The theft of services or property from the District by an employee will result in immediate disciplinary action that can lead to dismissal or other penalty, and shall not preclude the filing of criminal or civil charges by the District.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6460 Jury Duty

A District employee called for jury duty shall receive his/her full day’s pay from the School District plus mileage from the State.  No employee shall be entitled to receive the per diem allowance for any regularly scheduled workday on which jury duty is rendered if on such a day his/her wages are not withheld on account of such service.

Judiciary Law Section 521(b)

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6470 Staff Use of Computerized Information Resources

The Board of Education will provide staff with access to various computerized information resources through the District’s computer system (DCS hereafter) consisting of software, hardware, computer networks wireless network/access and electronic communication systems. This may include access to electronic mail, so-called “on-line services” and the “Internet.” It may also include the opportunity for staff to have independent access to the DCS from their home or other remote locations and/or to access the DCS from their personal devices. All use of the DCS and the wireless network, including independent use off school premises and use on personal devices, shall be subject to this policy and accompanying regulations.

The Board encourages staff to make use of the DCS to explore educational topics, conduct research and contact others in the educational world. The Board anticipates that staff access to various computerized information resources will both expedite and enhance the performance of tasks associated with their positions and assignments. Toward that end, the Board directs the Superintendent or his/her designee(s) to provide staff with training in the proper and effective use of the DCS.

Staff use of the DCS is conditioned upon written agreement by the staff member that use of the DCS will conform to the requirements of this policy and any regulations adopted to ensure acceptable use of the DCS. All such agreements shall be kept on file in the District office.

Generally, the same standards of acceptable staff conduct which apply to any aspect of job performance shall apply to use of the DCS. Employees are expected to communicate in a professional manner consistent with applicable District policies and regulations governing the behavior of school staff. Electronic mail and tele-communications are not to be utilized to share confidential information about students or other employees.

Access to confidential data is a privilege afforded to District employees in the performance of their duties. Safeguarding this data is a District responsibility that the Board of Education takes very seriously. Consequently, District employment does not automatically guarantee the initial or ongoing ability to use mobile/personal devices to access the DCS and the information it may contain.

This policy does not attempt to articulate all required and/or acceptable uses of the DCS; nor is it the intention of this policy to define all inappropriate usage. Administrative regulations will further define general guidelines of appropriate staff conduct and use as well as prescribed behavior.

District staff shall also adhere to the laws, policies and rules governing computers including, but not limited to, copyright laws, rights of software publishers, license agreements and rights of privacy protected by federal and state law.

Staff members who engage in unacceptable use may lose access to the DCS and may be subject to further discipline under the law and in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements. Legal action may be initiated against a staff member who willfully, maliciously or unlawfully damages or destroys property of the District.

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Social Media Use by Employees

The School District recognizes the value of teacher and professional staff inquiry, investigation and communication using new technology tools to enhance student learning experiences. The School District also realizes its obligations to teach and ensure responsible and safe use of these new technologies. Social media, including social networking sites, have great potential to connect people around the globe and enhance communication. Therefore, the Board of Education encourages the use of District approved social media tools and the exploration of new and emerging technologies to supplement the range of communication and educational services.

For purposes of this Policy, the definition of public social media networks or Social Networking Sites (SNS) are defined to include: websites, Web logs (blogs), wikis, social networks, online forums, virtual worlds, video sites and any other social media generally available to the School District community which do not fall within the District’s electronic technology network (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, blog sites, etc.). The definition of District approved password-protected social media tools are those that fall within the District’s electronic technology network or which the District has approved for educational use. Within these internal forums, the District has greater authority and ability to protect minors from inappropriate content and can limit public access.

The use of social media (whether public or internal) can generally be defined as Official District Use, Professional/Instructional Use and Personal Use. The definitions, uses and responsibilities will be further defined and differentiated in the Administrative Regulation. The School District takes no position on an employee’s decision to participate in the use of social media or SNS for personal use on personal time. However, personal use of these media during District time or on District-owned equipment is allowed on a limited basis. In addition, employees are encouraged to maintain the highest levels of professionalism when communicating, whether using District devices or their own personal devices, in their professional capacity as educators. They have a responsibility to address inappropriate behavior or activity on these networks, including requirements for mandated reporting and compliance with all applicable District Policies and Regulations.

Confidentiality, Private Information and Privacy Rights

Confidential and/or private data, including but not limited to, protected student records, employee personal identifying information, and District assessment data, shall only be loaded, stored or transferred to District-owned devices which have encryption and/or password protection. This restriction, designed to ensure data security, encompasses all computers and devices within the DCS, any mobile devices, including flash or key drives, and any devices that access the DCS from remote locations. Staff will not use email to transmit confidential files in order to work at home or another location. Staff will not use cloud-based storage services (such as Dropbox, GoogleDrive, SkyDrive, etc.) for confidential files.

Staff will not leave any devices unattended with confidential information visible. All devices are required to be locked down while the staff member steps away from the device, and settings enabled to freeze and lock after a set period of inactivity.

Staff data files and electronic storage areas shall remain District property, subject to District control and inspection.  The computer coordinator may access all such files and communications without prior notice to ensure system integrity and that users are complying with requirements of this policy and accompanying regulations. Staff should NOT expect that information stored on the DCS will be private.

Implementation

Administrative regulations will be developed to implement the terms of this policy, addressing general parameters of acceptable staff conduct as well as prohibited activities so as to provide appropriate guidelines for employee use of the DCS.

NOTE:      Refer also to Policies #5672 — Information Security Breach and Notification

#6411 — Staff Use of Email

#7243 — Student Data Breaches

#7316 — Student Use of Personal Technology

#8271 — Internet Safety/Internet Content Filtering Policy

Adopted:  11/16/05
Amended:  4/7/10
Amended: 12/18/13

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Policy 6475 Use of Email in the School District

Electronic mail or email is a valuable business communication tool, and users shall use this tool in a responsible, effective and lawful manner. Every employee/ authorized user has a responsibility to maintain the District’s image and reputation, to be knowledgeable about the inherent risks associated with email usage and to avoid placing the School District at risk. Although email seems to be less formal than other written communication, the same laws and business records requirements apply. School District employees/authorized users shall use the District’s designated email system, such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange, for all business email, including emails in which students or student issues are involved.

Employee Acknowledgement

All employees and authorized users shall acknowledge annually and follow the District’s policies and regulations on acceptable use of computerized information resources, including email usage.

Email Accounts

All email accounts on the District’s system are the property of the School District. Personal accounts and instant messaging shall not be used to conduct official business.

Classified and Confidential

District employees and authorized users may not:

  1. Provide lists or information about District employees or students to others and/or classified information without approval. Questions regarding usage should be directed to a Principal/supervisor.
  2. Forward emails with confidential, sensitive, or secure information without Principal/supervisor authorization. Additional precautions should be taken when sending documents of a confidential nature.
  3. Use file names that may disclose confidential information. Confidential files should be password protected and encrypted, if possible. File protection passwords shall not be communicated via email correspondence in any event.
  4. Send or forward email with comments or statements about the District that may negatively impact it.

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Personal Use

Employees and authorized users may use the District’s email system for limited personal use. Personal email accounts should not be utilized for school business. There is no expectation of privacy with district email use. Personal use should not include chain letters, junk mail, and jokes. Employees

and authorized users are advised that the district will comply with valid Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. Employees and authorized users shall not use the District’s email programs to conduct job searches, post personal information to bulletin boards, blogs, chat groups and list services, etc. without specific permission from the Principal/supervisor. The District’s email system shall not be used for personal gain or profit.

Records Management and Retention

Retention of email messages are covered by the same retention schedules as records in other formats, but are of a similar program function or activity. Email shall be maintained in accordance with the NYS Records Retention and Disposition Schedule ED-1 and as outlined in the Records Management Policy. Email records may consequently be deleted, purged or destroyed after they have been retained for the requisite time period established in the ED-1 schedule.

Archival of Email

All email sent and received to an employee’s email account will be archived by the District for a period of no less than six (6) years. This time period was determined based on the possibility of emails that are the official copy of a record according to schedule ED-1. Depending on the District’s archival system, employees may have access to view their personal archive, including deleted email.

Receiving Unacceptable Mail

Employees and authorized users who receive offensive, unpleasant, harassing or intimidating messages via email or instant messaging shall inform their Principal/supervisor immediately.

Training

Employees/authorized users should receive regular training on the following topics:

  1. The appropriate use of email with students, parents and other staff to avoid issues of harassment and/or charges of fraternization.
  2. Confidentiality of emails.
  3. Permanence of email: email is never truly deleted, as the data can reside in many different places and in many different forms.
  4. No expectation of privacy: email use on District property is NOT to be construed as private.

Sanctions

The Computer Coordinator may report inappropriate use of email by an employee/authorized user to the employee/authorized user’s Principal/supervisor who will take appropriate disciplinary action. Violations may result in a loss of email use, access to the technology network and/or other disciplinary action. When applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.

Notification

All employees/authorized users will be required to access a copy of the District’s policies on staff and student use of computerized information resources and the regulations established in connection with those policies. Each user will acknowledge this employee/designated user agreement before establishing an account or continuing in his/her use of email.

Confidentiality Notice

A standard Confidentiality Notice should be added to each email as determined by the District.

NOTE:      Refer also to Policies #3320 — Confidentiality of Computerized Information

#3420 — Anti-Harassment in the School District

#5670 — Records Management

#6410 — Staff Use of Computerized Information Resources

#8271 — Children’s Internet Protection Act: Internet Content Filtering/Safety Policy

Adopted:  11/16/05
Amended: 12/8/10

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Policy 6480 Teaching Methods

The District serves a complex, unique, rural community consisting of a broad range of cultural, social and economic factors which must be considered when providing the best teaching and learning situations.  The educational needs of such a district, the different rates at which children learn, the nature and variety of subjects taught, and the increasing body of knowledge and technology suggest that there is not one teaching method or organization for instruction which should be used by all teachers for all courses and grade levels.

The Board recognizes the contributions made by educational researchers in the area of teaching methods, and affirms that teachers and administrators can best meet the educational needs of our students by studying these methods and then employing a variety of teaching methods and systems of organization for instruction.  The Board encourages its teachers and administrators to continually make a creative and constructive study of the teaching process and to use in their teaching a variety and a flexibility which will promote the philosophy, goals and objectives of the district.

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6510 Health Insurance

Health insurance for certified and support staffs shall be in accordance with their respective negotiated agreements.

Continuation of Medical Insurance Coverage at Termination of Employment

Under the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), employees and their dependents are eligible to continue their insurance coverage for up to eighteen (18) months when termination of their insurance is due to a reduction in their hours worked, or upon termination of their employment.

Dependents of employees are eligible to continue their insurance for up to thirty-six (36) months upon occurrence of one (1) of the following events:

  1. Death of the covered employee; or
  2. Divorce or legal separation from the covered employee; or
  3. An employee becomes eligible for Medicare and ceases to participate in the employer-sponsored plan; or
  4. The dependents of a covered employee reach the maximum age for dependent coverage.

Those who are eligible to continue coverage have up to sixty (60) days to complete the Continuation of Coverage Election Form.  They must pay the full cost of their premium plus administrative costs incurred by the District.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6520 Workers’ Compensation

Employees injured in the performance of their duties are covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Employees shall report work-related injuries immediately to their immediate supervisor. Delay in reporting, if necessary, must be justified to the satisfaction of the Board of Education and/or the insurance agency.

Reimbursement for Workers’ Compensation Insurance benefits shall be in accordance with their respective negotiated agreements.

Education Law Sections 1604(31), 1709(34), and 2503(10)

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6530 Payroll Deductions

Payroll deductions may be made when authorized by employees or when required by law or negotiated agreements.

Education Law Sections 1604 and 1709

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6540 Defense and Indemnification of Board Members and Employees

Liability Protection Pursuant to Education Law

The Board of Education recognizes the District’s statutory obligation to indemnify School District employees (and in certain circumstances, Board of Education members and volunteers) pursuant to the provisions of Sections 3023, 3028 and 3811 of the Education Law.  For the purposes of this policy, the term “employee” shall be as defined in the applicable statute(s).

The District shall not be subject to the duty to defend unless the employee, within the time prescribed by statute, delivers appropriate notice of the claim to the Board of Education.

  1. For purposes of Education Law Section 3811, the employee must give written notice within five (5) days after service of process upon him/her.  The statute mandates only written notice of the claim to the Board of Education; however, submission of relevant legal documents by the employee to the Board is also encouraged.
  2. For purposes of Education Law Sections 3023 and 3028, the employee must deliver the original or a copy of the relevant legal documents to the Board within ten (10) days after service of process upon him/her.

The District will provide legal defense and/or indemnification for all damages, costs, and reasonable expenses incurred in the defense of an action or proceeding if authorized pursuant to statute and provided that the alleged action or omission which occurred or allegedly occurred is covered by the appropriate statute(s).  Furthermore, the District will not be required to provide indemnification protection and/or legal defense unless the employee was, at the time of the alleged incident, acting in the discharge of his/her duties within the scope of his/her employment or authorized volunteer duties and/or under the direction of the Board of Education.

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Public Officers Law Section 18

The Board of Education hereby also confers the benefits of Section 18 of the New York State Public Officers Law upon the “employees” of the District, as defined in Section 18 of the Public Officers Law; and the District assumes the liability for the costs incurred in accordance with the provisions of Section 18.  The benefits accorded to District employees under Section 18 of the Public Officers Law shall supplement and be available in addition to defense or indemnification protection conferred by other enactment or provisions of law

The term “employees” shall include members of the Board of Education; the Superintendent; District officers; District employees; volunteers expressly authorized to participate in a District sponsored volunteer program; or any other person holding a position by election, appointment or employment in the service of the District, whether or not compensated. The term “employee” shall also include a former employee, his/her estate or judicially appointed representative.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 18 of the Public Officers Law, and upon compliance by the employee with the requirements of this statute, the District shall provide for the defense of the employee in any civil action or proceeding, state or federal, arising out of any alleged act or omission which occurred or allegedly occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his/her public employment or duties.  Furthermore, the District shall indemnify and save harmless its employees in the amount of any judgment obtained against such employees in a state or federal court, or in the amount of any settlement of a claim, provided that the act or omission from which such judgment or claim arose occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his/her public employment or duties.  However, in the case of a settlement, the duty to indemnify and save harmless shall be conditioned upon the approval of the amount of the settlement by the Board of Education.

The duty to defend and/or indemnify and save harmless, in accordance with Section 18 of the Public Officers Law, shall be conditioned upon the delivery by the employee to the School District attorney or to the Superintendent a written request to provide for his/her defense, together with the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within ten (10) days after he/she is served with such document. Pursuant to Section 18, the full cooperation of the employee in the defense of such action or proceeding and in the defense of any action or proceeding against the District based upon the same act or omission, and in the prosecution of any appeal, shall also be required as a condition for the District’s duty to defend and/or indemnify and save harmless to exist.

Exceptions to Liability Coverage

Indemnification coverage and/or provision of legal defense by the District will not apply unless the actionable claim is of the type covered by the statute(s) and/or is not otherwise exempt from coverage pursuant to law.  Additionally, indemnification coverage and/or the duty to provide a defense shall not arise where such action or proceeding is brought by or on behalf of the School District.

Paul D. Coverell Teacher Protection Act of 2001, as authorized by No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,

20 United State Code (USC) Section 6731 et seq.

Public Officers Law Section 18

Education Law Sections 1604(25) and (31-b), 1709(26) and (34-b), 2560, 3023, 3028, and 3811

General Municipal Law Sections 6-n and 52

Adopted:  11/16/05

Amended: 12/09/09

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Policy 6550 Leaves of Absence

  1. In general, leaves of absence:
    1. Shall be administered by the Superintendent.
    2. The Board reserves the right to grant leaves of absence for purposes or under conditions not contemplated or considered in the policy statement.
    3. Under laws and rules governing such action, the Board may undertake appropriate disciplinary action where a leave of absence is falsely requested or improperly used.
    4. Except by permission of the Superintendent, as expressed in writing, the purpose or conditions of a leave of absence may not be altered.
  2. Leaves of absence, contractual, et al:
    1. Employees who are members of a negotiating unit: Authorization is granted to approve requests for leaves of absence submitted pursuant to provisions of contracts in effect between the District and each bargaining unit.
    2. Employees who are not members of a negotiating unit: Authorization is granted to approve requests for leaves of absence submitted by such employees where such requests are consistent with provisions of contracts in effect between the District and the bargaining unit most compatible with the employment status of the employee.
    3. Employees who are under contract to the District: Authorization is granted to implement provisions for leaves of absence contained in each such contract.
  3.  Leaves of absence, unpaid, not covered in b) 1. above:
    1. Subject to limitations enumerated in this policy statement, authorization is granted for the following unpaid leaves of absence.
      1. For a period of time not to exceed one (1) school year for approved graduate study, such leave to include any required internship experience.
      2. At the expiration of a paid sick leave of absence, to extend such a leave of absence for a period of time not to exceed the end of the school year next succeeding the school year in which the paid leave of absence commenced.
    2. Unpaid leaves of absence shall not be used to extend vacation periods, to take vacations, to engage in other occupations, or to provide additional personal leaves, except that the Superintendent shall have discretion, where circumstances warrant, to approve leaves of absence for such purposes.
    3. Unpaid leaves of absence shall not be granted unless the services of a substitute employee, satisfactory in the discretion of the Superintendent, can be secured.
    4. Except where it interferes with an employee’s legal or contractual rights, the timing of unpaid leaves of absence will be granted at the convenience of the District.

Sabbatical Leave

The Board of Education endorses the judicious use of sabbatical leaves for tenured faculty members as offering unique opportunities to enrich the curriculum at Cooperstown Central School.  To this end, sabbatical leaves of one semester or two semesters in the same year, with one-half salary and full fringe benefits paid by the school, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Each request will be supported by a well designed plan to achieve one or more of the following objectives:  improvement of classroom skills, enhancement of subject matter background in the same or related area of the applicant’s certification, or a contribution to a specific and established school goal.

Activities considered appropriate to a planned sabbatical leave include but are not limited to:  visitation and study of several model schools, attendance at formal training sessions or institutes, enrollment in college level courses, and in some instances, foreign or domestic travel offering opportunities to enhance the teacher’s background in a specific area of the curriculum.

Request for sabbatical leaves should be submitted to the Superintendent in accordance with the procedures contained in an Operational Memorandum.

Final approval of each sabbatical leave will be made by the Board of Education.

Military Leave

The District will comply with state and federal laws regarding military leave and re-employment.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

38 United States Code (USC) Sections 4301-4333

Civil Service Law Sections 71-73

Education Law Sections 1709(16), 3005, 3005-a and 3005-b

Military Law Sections 242 and 243

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6551 Family and Medical Leave Act

The Board of Education, in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), gives “eligible” employees of the District the right to take unpaid leave for a period of up to twelve (12) workweeks in a twelve-month period as determined by the District.  The District will compute the twelve-month period according to the following time frame:  a “rolling” twelve-month period will be used that is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.  The entitlement to leave for the birth or placement of a child shall expire at the end of the twelve (12) month period beginning on the date of such birth or placement.

Employees are “eligible” if they have been employed by the District for at least twelve (12) months and for at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous twelve-month period. Full-time teachers are deemed to meet the 1,250 hour test.  The law covers both full-time and part-time employees.

Qualified employees may be granted leave for one (1) or more of the following reasons:

  1. The birth of a child and care for the child;
  2. Adoption of a child and care for the child;
  3. The placement with the employee of a child from foster care;
  4. To care for a spouse, minor child or parent who has a serious health condition as defined by the FMLA;
  5. To care for an adult child who is incapable of self-care due to a disability (regardless of date of the onset of disability) and has a ‘serious health condition’ as defined by the FMLA; and/or
  6. A serious health condition of the employee, as defined by the FMLA, that prevents the employee from performing his/her job; or

A “serious health condition” is defined as an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider that renders the person incapacitated for more than three (3) consecutive calendar days. Furthermore, the first visit to a health care provider for an employee claiming a “serious health condition” under FMLA must occur within seven (7) days of the aforementioned incapacity with the second required visit occurring within thirty (30) days of the incapacitating event. In order for an employee to claim the need for continuous treatment under FMLA for a chronic serious health condition, the condition must require a minimum of two (2) visits per year to a healthcare provider, continue over an extended period of time, and may cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity. A “serious health condition” is also defined as any period of incapacity related to pregnancy or for prenatal care.

Military Family Leave Entitlements

Military Caregiver Leave

An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (defined as the nearest blood relative) is entitled to up to twenty-six (26) weeks of leave in a single twelve (12) month period to care for a “military member: who is:  (a) Recovering from a service-connected serious illness or injury sustained while on active duty; or (b)  Recovering from a serious illness or injury that existed prior to the service member’s active duty and was aggravated while on active duty; or (c)  A veteran who has a qualifying injury or illness from service within the last five (5) years and aggravates that illness or injury.

This military caregiver leave is available during a single 12-month period during which an eligible employee is entitled to a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks of all types of FMLA leave.  Military Caregiver Leave may be combined with other forms of FMLA-related leave providing a combined total of twenty-six (26) weeks of possible leave for any single twelve (12) month period; however, the other form of FMLA leave when combined cannot exceed twelve (12) of the twenty-six (26) weeks of combined leave. Military Caregiver Leave has a set “clock” for calculating the twelve (12) month period for when FMLA leave begins and tolling starts at the first day of leave taken.

The term “military member” means:

  1. A member of the Regular Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness; or
  2. A veteran (discharged or released under condition other than dishonorable) who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces (including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) at any time during the period of five (5) years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment, recuperation or therapy.

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“Qualifying Exigency” Leave/Call to Active Duty

An “eligible” employee is entitled to FMLA leave because of “a qualifying exigency” arising out of circumstances where the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee is serving in the Regular Armed Forces or either the National Guard or the Reserves and is on active duty during a war or national emergency called for by the President of the United States or Congress, or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status, in support of a contingency operation. There is no “qualifying exigency” unless the military member is or is about to be deployed to a foreign country.

A “qualifying exigency” related to families of the Army National Guard of the United States, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard of the United States, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve personnel on (or called to) active duty to take FMLA protected leave to manage their affairs is defined as any one of the following reasons:

  1. Short-notice deployment;
  2. Military events and related activities;
  3. Childcare and school activities;
  4. Parental care leave;
  5. Financial and legal arrangements;
  6. Counseling;
  7. Rest and recuperation (for up to fifteen [15] calendar days);
  8. Post-deployment activities; and
  9. Any additional activities where the employer and employee agree to the leave.

In any case in which the necessity for leave due to a qualifying exigency is foreseeable, the employee shall provide such notice to the employer as is reasonable and practicable. This military-related leave is for up to twelve (12) weeks during a single twelve (12) month period. Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule.

Implementation/Benefits/Medical Certification

At the Board of Education’s or employee’s option, certain types of paid leave may be substituted for unpaid leave.

An employee on FMLA leave is also entitled to have health benefits maintained while on leave. If an employee was paying all or part of the premium payments prior to leave, the employee will continue to pay his/her share during the leave period.

In most instances, an employee has a right to return to the same position or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits and working conditions at the conclusion of the leave.

The Board of Education has a right to thirty (30) days advance notice from the employee where practicable. In addition, the Board may require an employee to submit certification from a health care provider to substantiate that the leave is due to the “serious health condition” of the employee or the employee’s immediate family member. Under no circumstance should the employee’s direct supervisor contact any health care provider regarding the employee’s condition; all contact in this manner must be made by a health care provider (employed by the employer), a human resource professional, a leave administrator or a management official. If the medical certification requested by the employer is found to be deficient, the employer must indicate where the errors are, in writing, and give the employee seven (7) days to provide corrected materials to cure any deficiency prior to any action being taken.

Special Provisions for School District Employees

An instructional employee is an employee whose principal function is to teach and instruct students in a class, a small group, or an individual setting (e.g., teachers, coaches, driving instructors, special education assistants, etc.). Teaching assistants and aides who do not have instruction as the principal function of their job are not considered an “instructional employee.”

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Intermittent Leave Taken By Instructional Employees

FMLA leave that is taken at the end of the school year and resumes at the beginning of the next school year is not regarded as intermittent leave but rather continuous leave. The period in the interim (i.e., summer vacation) is not counted against an employee and the employee must continue to receive any benefits that are customarily given over the summer break.

Intermittent leave may be taken but must meet certain criteria. If the instructional employee requesting intermittent leave will be on that leave for more than twenty percent (20%) of the number of working days during the period for which the leave would extend, the following criteria may be required by the employer:

  1. Take leave for a period or periods of a particular duration, not greater than the duration of the planned treatment; or
  2. Transfer temporarily to an available alternative position for which the employee is qualified, which has equivalent pay and benefits and which better accommodates recurring periods of leave than does the employee’s regular position.

Appropriate notice for foreseeable FMLA leave still applies and all employees must be returned to an equivalent position within the School District. Additional work-related certifications, requirements and/or training may not be required of the employee as a contingent of their return to work.

Leave Taken by Instructional Employees Near the End of the Instructional Year

There are also special requirements for instructional employees taking leave and the leave’s relation to the end of the term. If the instructional employee is taking leave more than five (5) weeks prior to the end of the term, the District may require that the employee take the leave until the end of the term if the leave lasts more than three (3) weeks and the employee was scheduled to return prior to three (3) weeks before the end of the term.

If the instructional employee is taking leave less than five (5) weeks prior to the end of the term for any of the following FMLA-related reasons except qualifying exigency, the District may require that the employee remain out for the rest of the term if the leave lasts more than two (2) weeks and the employee would return to work during that two (2) week period at the end of the instructional term.

If the instructional employee begins taking leave during the three (3) weeks prior to the end of the term for any reason except qualifying exigency, the District may require that the employee continue leave until the end of the term if the leave is scheduled to last more than five (5) working days.

Any additional time that is required by the employer due to the timing of the end of the school year, will not be charged against the employee as FMLA leave because it was the employer who requested that the leave extend until the end of the term.

FMLA Notice

A notice which explains the FMLA’s provisions and provides information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the FMLA shall be posted in each school building and a notice of an employee’s FMLA rights and responsibilities shall be either placed in the employee handbook of the employer or furnished to each new employee upon hire. The employer has five (5) days to supply such notice from the date of hire.

Administration is directed to develop regulations to implement this policy, informing employees of their rights and responsibilities under the FMLA.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (as amended), Public Law 103-3

National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, Public Law 110-181

10 USC 101(a) (13)

29 USC 1630.1 and 2611-2654

29 CFR Part 825 and Part 1630

42 USC 12102

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191

45 CFR Parts 160 and 164

NOTE:  Refer also to Policy #6552 — Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights

Act (USERRA)/Military Leaves of Absence

Adopted:   11/16/05
09/03/08
Amended: 08/21/13

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Policy 6552 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)/Military Leaves of Absence

In accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and State Law, the School District, upon advance notice by the employee, shall grant leaves of absence for service in the uniformed services and/or military duty (hereinafter referred to as “military service” or “military duty”) to its employees who are ordered to duty or volunteer for qualifying military service.  The employee’s notice may be either verbal or written.  No advance notice is required if military necessity prevents the giving of notice, or the giving of notice is otherwise impossible or unreasonable under all the circumstances.

Employment Rights

Time during which an employee is absent pursuant to military leave shall not constitute an interruption of continuous employment in the School District and no such employee shall be subjected, directly or indirectly, to any loss or diminution of time service, increment, vacation or holiday privileges, or any other right or privilege, by reason of such absence; nor shall any employee be prejudiced by reason of such absence with reference to continuance in employment, reemployment, reinstatement, transfer or promotion.

Salary/Compensation

Every employee shall be paid his/her salary or other compensation for any and all periods of absence while engaged in the performance of ordered military duty, and while going to and returning from such duty. This payment of salary/compensation shall not exceed a total of 30 days or 22 working days, whichever is greater, in any one calendar year; and shall not exceed 30 days or 22 working days, whichever is greater, in any one continuous period of such absence.

The employee must be permitted, upon request, to use any accrued vacation, annual, or similar leave with pay during the period of military service in order to continue his/her civilian pay. The School District may not require the employee to use accrued leave.

The employee is not entitled to use accrued sick leave during the period of military service, unless the District allows employees to use sick leave for any reason or allows other similarly situated employees on comparable furlough or leave of absence to use accrued paid sick leave.

Employee Benefits

Health Plan Coverage

If the employee has coverage under a health plan in connection with his/her employment with the District, the employee must be permitted to elect to continue the coverage for a certain period of time as designated in law.

When the employee is performing military service, he/she is entitled to continuing coverage for himself/herself (and dependents if the plan offers dependent coverage) under a health plan in connection with the employment. The plan must allow the employee an opportunity to continue coverage for a period of time that is the lesser of:

  1. The 24-month period beginning on the date on which the employee’s absence for the purpose of performing military service begins; or
  2. The period beginning on the date on which the employee’s absence for the purpose of performing military service begins, and ending on the date on which the employee fails to return from service or apply for a position of reemployment.

Health plan administrators may develop reasonable requirements addressing how continuing coverage may be elected, consistent with the terms of the plan and USERRA’s exceptions to the requirement that the employee give advance notice of military service. Further, health plan administrators may develop reasonable procedures for employee payment to continue coverage, consistent with USERRA and the terms of the plan.

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Pension/Retirement Plans

While on military duty, any School District employee who is a member of any pension or retirement system may elect to contribute to such pension or retirement system the amount which he/she would have contributed had such employment been continuous. Upon making such contribution, the employee shall have the same rights in respect to membership in the retirement system as he/she would have had if the employee had been present and continuously engaged in the performance of his/her position.  To the extent that such contributions are paid, absence while engaged in the performance of military duty shall be counted in determining the length of total service under such pension or retirement system.

Alternatively, employees will have an opportunity to make up contributions to the pension or retirement system upon return to employment in the District in accordance with law and the individual employee’s pension/retirement system.

Time during which an employee is absent on military duty shall not constitute an interruption of continuous employment, but such time shall not be counted or included in determining the length of total service in the pension or retirement system unless the employee contributes to the pension or retirement system the amount he/she would have been required to contribute if the employee had been continuously employed during the period of military duty.

Reemployment/Restoration Rights (“Escalator Principle”)

Per USERRA, as a general rule, the employee is entitled to reemployment in the job position that he/she would have attained with reasonable certainty if not for the absence due to military service.  The position to which the returning service member should be restored has become known as the “escalator position.”  The escalator principle requires that the employee be reemployed in a position that reflects with reasonable certainty the pay, benefits, seniority, and other job benefits that he/she would have attained if not for the period of military service.

Depending on the circumstances/intervening events, the escalator principle may cause an employee to be reemployed in a higher or lower position, transferred, laid off, or even terminated.

The employee must be qualified for the reemployment position.  The District shall make reasonable efforts to help the employee become qualified to perform the duties of this position.  The District is not required to reemploy the employee on his/her return from military service if the employee cannot, after reasonable efforts by the District, qualify for the appropriate reemployment position.

Per State law, an employee restored to his/her position after the termination of military duty shall be entitled to the rate of compensation he/she would have received had the employee remained in his/her position continuously during the period of military duty; and the employee shall be deemed to have rendered satisfactory and efficient service in the job position during the period of military leave of absence.  Further, the employee shall not be subjected directly or indirectly to any loss of time service, increment, or any other right or privilege; nor shall an employee be prejudiced in any way with reference to promotion, transfer, reinstatement or continuance in employment.

All other rights, benefits, and responsibilities of a District employee serving in the military shall be in accordance with law, regulations, and/or the applicable contract/collective bargaining agreement.

Probationary Service

Public Employees in General

If a public employee (with the exception of the probationary service of “teachers” as described below) enters military duty before the expiration of the probationary period in any position to which he/she may have been appointed, or to which he/she may thereafter be appointed or promoted, the time such employee is absent on military duty shall be credited as satisfactory service during this probationary period.

Teachers/Supervisory Staff

In any case where a “teacher” (as defined in State Education Law Section 3101, the  term “teacher” encompasses a broad category of full-time members of the teaching and supervisory staff of the District, and is not limited to “instructional” employees) enters military duty before the expiration of the probationary period to which he/she may have been appointed, the time the “teacher” is absent on military duty shall be credited as satisfactory service during this probationary period.  If the end of such probationary service occurs while the “teacher” is on military duty or within one year following the termination of military duty, the period of the probationary service may be extended by the Board of Education for a period not to exceed one year from the date of termination of military duty.  However, in no event shall the period of probationary service in the actual performance of teaching services extend beyond that required by the School District at the time of the “teacher’s” entry into military service.

Collective Bargaining Agreements/Contract/Plan/Practices

In accordance with USERRA, any State or local law, contract, agreement, policy, plan, or practice that establishes an employment right or benefit that is more beneficial than, or is in addition to, a right or benefit under USERRA, such greater employment right or benefit will supersede this Federal Law.

Notice of Rights and Duties

The District shall provide a notice of the rights, benefits and obligations of employees and the District under USERRA.  The District may provide the notice by posting it where employee notices are customarily placed.  The District may also provide such notice to its employees in other ways that will minimize costs while ensuring that the full test of the notice is provided (e.g., by handing or mailing out the notice, or distributing the notice via electronic mail).

The U.S. Department of Labor has developed and made available on its web site http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/poster.htm a poster for use by private and State employers (including school districts) that can be posted in order to comply with the notification mandate.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

38 United States Code (USC) Sections 4301-4333

Public Law 108-454

20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1002

Military Law Sections 242 and 243

Education Law Section 3101

Adopted:  08/16/06

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Policy 6560 Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

The Board will explore the establishment of an Employee Assistance Program for employees who are experiencing personal difficulties. The purpose of the program is to assist employees in obtaining help to resolve such problems in an effective and confidential manner.  This program recognizes that the primary obligation to seek assistance and to resolve the problem rests with the employee.

The Board recognizes that a wide range of problems that are not directly associated with an employee’s job function may have an effect on an employee’s job performance.  The problems may involve physical illness, mental or emotional illness, alcohol abuse or alcoholism, drug abuse or dependency, tobacco abuse or personal problems such as those of a marital, family, or financial nature.

A joint District/employee organization committee will be established to assist in the implementation of this policy.

NOTE:      Refer also to Policies #3410 — Code of Conduct on School Property

#6150 — Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances (School Personnel)

#6151 — Drug-Free Workplace

Adopted:  11/16/05

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Policy 6562 Employment of Retired Persons

A retired person may be employed and earn compensation in a position in the School District, without any effect on his/her status as retired and without suspension or diminution of his/her retirement allowance subject to the conditions enumerated in Retirement and Social Security Law Section 211(1). However, there shall be no earning limitations on or after the calendar year in which any retired person attains age sixty-five (65).

No retired person may be employed in the District except upon approval of the Civil Service Commission or the Commissioner of Education unless otherwise authorized in accordance with law, as discussed below.

Two sections of the Retirement and Social Security Law (RSSL Section 211 and 212) affect a retiree’s return to public employment in New York State. If a retiree returns to public employment, he/she may still be able to collect his/her pension depending upon:

  1. How much is earned after returning to work; and
  2. The retiree’s age.

If a retiree is under age 65, he/she can return to public employment without approval or reduction in retirement benefits as long as his/her calendar year earnings do not exceed $30,000 (the RSSL Section 212 limit). If a retiree’s earnings will be more than the Section 212 limits, the employer must request and receive prior approval from the appropriate agency to hire the retiree under Section 211. This may help avoid a reduction or suspension of the retiree’s pension. (Refer to subheading below for more information regarding RSSL Section 211 and the approval process.)

Section 211 waivers are provided for “unclassified service” positions. Retired police officers employed by a school district as a School Resource Officer fall under the “classified service” but may have the earnings limitation waived at the discretion of the Commissioner of Education, as long as all of the requirements for waivers in the unclassified service are fulfilled.

There is generally no restriction on a retiree’s earnings beginning in the calendar year he/she turns 65, unless returning to public office.

RSSL Section 211 Approval Process

Approval for post-retirement employment of a person under the age of 65 whose calendar year earnings exceed thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) may be granted only on the written request of the District giving detailed reasons related to the standards set forth in Section 211; and on a finding of satisfactory evidence by the Civil Service Commission or the Commissioner of Education that the retired person is duly qualified, competent and physically fit for the performance of the duties of the position in which he/she is to be employed and is properly certified where such certification is required.

The District will prepare a detailed recruitment plan to fill such vacancy on a permanent basis when the need arises and will undertake extensive recruitment efforts to fill the vacancy prior to making a determination that there are no available non-retired persons qualified to perform the duties of such position.

Approvals to hire retired individuals may be granted for periods not exceeding two (2) years each, provided that a person may not return to work in the same or similar position for a period of one (1) year following retirement. However, in accordance with RSSL Section 212, a retiree may return to work in the same or similar position within the same year following retirement if his/her earnings are under thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or if he/she receives a Section 212 waiver, or other conditions exist as enumerated in law.

Reporting Requirements and Disclosure

  1. The School District shall report all money earned by a retired person in its employ in excess of the earnings limitation outlined in Retirement and Social Security Law Section 212 to the retirement system administered by the State or any of its political subdivisions from which the retired person is collecting his/her retirement allowance.
  2. The School District, when employing a retired person who is eligible to collect or is already collecting a retirement allowance from a retirement system administered by the State or any of its political subdivisions, shall report on an annual basis to the retirement system paying such retirement allowance and to the State Comptroller. This report shall consist of the re-employed retiree’s name, date of birth, place of employment, current position, and all earnings.

Public Record

Any request for approval of the employment of a retired person, including the reasons stated, and the findings and determination of such request shall be a public record open for inspection in the Office of the Civil Service Commission, the Commissioner of Education, or the Board of Education making such findings and determination as specified in Retirement and Social Security Law Section 211.

Education Law Section 525

Retirement and Social Security Law Sections 111, 211, 212, 217, and 411

8 NYCRR Section 80-5.5(b)

Adopted:  08/20/14

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