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The Law of Personnel Policy Committees Scott Smith and Tripp Walter Arkansas Public School Resource Center.

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1 The Law of Personnel Policy Committees Scott Smith and Tripp Walter Arkansas Public School Resource Center

2 Personnel Policy Committees There are 2 sets of statutes which contain the personnel policies and personnel policy committees (PPC) laws. Ark. Code Ann. § et seq. contain the laws concerning certified personnel policies and the certified PPCs. Ark. Code Ann. § et seq. contain the laws pertaining to the classified personnel policies and classified PPCs. 2

3 What is a “Personnel Policy”? Ark. Code Ann. § (b) states: “Personnel policies” means all school district policies, guidelines, regulations, and procedures that pertain to the terms and conditions of a teacher’s employment. There is no corresponding definition of “personnel policies” in the classified personnel policies statutes. 3

4 CERTIFIED PERSONNEL POLICIES 4

5 Personnel Policies Benefits Compensation Designation of workdays Holidays & noninstructional days Annual calendar Methods of evaluations Extra duties Leave Grievances Dismissal or nonrenewal Reduction in force Assignment of teacher aides Ark. Code Ann. § (c) provides that the personnel policies shall include, but are not limited to, the following terms and conditions of employment: 5

6 Practice Tip Per Attorney General’s Opinion No (issued January 2, 1992), as teacher salary schedules are considered part of a school district’s written personnel policies, the presentation of a salary schedule proposal or proposed amendment to an existing schedule should be treated by a board of directors and the PPC in the same manner that other personnel policy proposals are treated. 6

7 Posting & Filing of Certified Personnel Policies A school district shall not receive in any year any additional funding from the Public School Fund unless the school district posts by September 15 its current personnel policies on the school district’s website, including the salary schedule as required by this subchapter. A written copy of the policies signed by the president of the local school board of directors shall be retained by the school district in a central records location. By September 15 of each year, a school district shall provide the ADE with the website address at which its current personnel policies, including the salary schedule, may be found. Ark. Code Ann. § (d). 7

8 Posting & Filing of Certified Personnel Policies The provisions of Ark. Code Ann. § et seq. (concerning certified personnel policies) shall not apply in any school district which chooses to officially recognize in its policy an organization which represents a majority of the teachers by way of collective bargaining. Ark. Code Ann. §

9 Composition of the Committee Ark. Code Ann. § provides that each school district shall have a committee on personnel policies which shall consist of no fewer than 5 classroom teachers, and no more than 3 administrators, 1 of which may be the superintendent. 9

10 Composition of Committee Question: Can you have more than 5 classroom teachers? How many can you have? In Attorney General’s Opinion No (issued on March 14, 2003), the Attorney General opined that a district policy providing that the teachers in each of the 13 buildings on campus must select a classroom teacher representative from their respective buildings complied with §

11 Composition of Committee The classroom teacher members of each school district’s committee on personnel policies shall be elected by a majority of the classroom teachers voting by secret ballot. The election shall be solely and exclusively conducted by the classroom teachers, including the distribution of ballots to all classroom teachers. 11

12 Composition of Committee Practice Tip: Arkansas case law has been clear that the procedure for selecting the classroom teachers of the committee has been left with the teachers as part of the election process to be conducted by the teachers. Nathaniel v. Forest City School Dist. No 7, Ark S.W.2d 539 (1989) provides that the committee formulation, the manner of nominations, and the date of elections are all matters to be decided by the teachers (without superintendent and/or board of directors in interference or direction). 12

13 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Ark. Code Ann. § states that: The personnel policies of all school districts shall be considered to be incorporated as terms of the licensed personnel contracts and shall be binding on the licensed personnel and the school district. Any changes or additions to the personnel policies shall not be considered a part of licensed personnel contracts until the next fiscal year. 13

14 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Any changes or additions to the personnel policies may take effect before the next fiscal year only if the changes or additions are approved by a majority of the licensed personnel employed by the school district voting by secret ballot. The voting and counting shall be conducted by the personnel policy committee. All changes or additions to the personnel policies or new personnel policies shall be made in accordance with this subchapter. 14

15 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Notwithstanding the provisions listed in the previous slide, any change or addition to the personnel policies adopted by the school board of directors on or before June 30 each year to ensure compliance with state or federal law or regulation shall be considered a part of licensed personnel contracts on July 1 of the same calendar year. 15

16 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Any changes or additions to the personnel policies adopted by the school board of directors between May 1 and June 30 each year that are not required to ensure compliance with state or federal law or regulation shall be considered a part of licensed personnel contracts on July 1 of the same calendar year if: – A notice of the change is sent no later than 5 working days after final board action by first class letter to the address on record in the personnel file of each affected employee; and – The notice of change includes: – The new or modified policy. 16

17 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts A modified policy shall be provided in a form that clearly shows additions underlined and deletions stricken; and A provision that states that due to the policy change, each continuing employee under contract shall have the power to unilaterally exercise the power of rescission within a period of 30 days after the school board of directors takes final action by providing to the school board of directors a notice of rescission in the form of a letter of resignation during the period of 30 days. Practice Tip: Note the importance of this language! 17

18 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts For continuing contract employees covered under the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act of 1983, the power of rescission in this section shall be in addition to the power of rescission provided under § A school district shall adopt, in accordance with this subchapter, a supplement to the salary schedule for those licensed staff employed longer than the period covered by the salary schedule and for duties in addition to licensed employees’ regular teaching assignments. (i.e., for additional days and additional duties (stipends)). 18

19 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Compensation policies approved by the personnel policy committee shall not apply to the chief administrator who is charged with administration of salary policy for all employees. (i.e., the superintendent) A licensed employee may not waive payment according to the salary schedule. Practice Tip: Have you ever had one of your teachers who did not want to get paid for his/her services (yes, it sometimes happens!)? Here is the provision in law that addresses the situation. 19

20 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Under § (a) (Educational Excellence Trust Funds) and § (Nonrecurring Salary Payments statutes) a school district is not prohibited from paying a licensed employee additional salary increases as a supplement to the contracted salary even though the licensed employee is not employed an additional time period longer than the period covered by the salary schedule or required to perform duties in addition to the licensed employee’s regular teaching assignments. 20

21 Incorporation of Personnel Policies Into Teachers’ Contracts Practice Tip: According to Attorney General’s Opinion No (issued May 23, 2002), the power to add a duty (with corresponding additional pay) to the supplemental salary schedule does not reside in the superintendent, but resides exclusively in the school board in consultation with the PPC pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § et seq. 21

22 ORGANIZATION & DUTIES OF THE CERTIFIED PPC 22

23 Organization & Duties According to Ark. Code Ann. § : Each school district’s committee on personnel policies shall organize itself in the first quarter of each school year and elect a chair and a secretary. 23

24 Organization & Duties The committee shall develop a calendar of meetings throughout the year to review the school district’s personnel policies in order to: – Determine whether additional policies or amendments to existing policies are needed; – Review any policies or changes to policies proposed by the board of directors; – Propose additional policies or amendments to the board of directors; and – Review any proposed distribution of a salary underpayment from previous years. 24

25 Organization & Duties Minutes of the committee meetings shall be promptly reported and distributed to members of the board of directors and posted in the buildings of the school district, including the administrative offices. Either the committee or the board of directors may propose new personnel policies or amendments to existing policies. 25

26 Organization & Duties New personnel policies or amendments to existing personnel policies proposed by the board of directors may not be voted on by the board of directors as a school district policy unless the final form of the policy to be voted on has been submitted as a proposed policy to the committee for consideration at least 10 working days before the vote of the board of directors. 26

27 Organization & Duties The superintendent may recommend any changes in personnel policies to the board of directors or to the personnel policies committee. The recommendations may then become proposals at the discretion of either the board of directors or the committee. 27

28 Organization & Duties The chair of the committee or a committee member designated by the chair shall be placed on the board of directors’ agenda and shall have the opportunity to orally present to the board of directors the committee’s comments, positions, or proposals on the final form of any proposed policies or amendments to existing policies, whether proposed by the committee or the board of directors, before they are voted on by the board of directors as school district policies. Ark. Code Ann (c). 28

29 Organization & Duties After the oral presentation to the board of directors, the board of directors may take final action immediately, but final action shall be taken no later than its next regular board of directors meeting. The board of directors may adopt, reject, or refer back to the committee on personnel policies for further study and revision any proposed policies or amendments to existing policies that are submitted to the board of directors for consideration by the committee. 29

30 Summary of How the Policy Adoption Process Works The procedures for adding new personnel policies or amending existing policies works like this: New policies and amendments to existing policies can be proposed either by the personnel policies committee or by the school board itself. New policies and amendments to existing policies can also be suggested to the school board by the school superintendent. If adopted by the board, the superintendent’s suggestion becomes a proposal. Ark. Code Ann. § (b)(1) and (3). 30

31 Summary of How the Policy Adoption Process Works If a new policy or amendment to existing policies is proposed by the school board, such proposal must be presented to the personnel policies committee at least 10 days before the proposal is presented to the board for final action. Ark. Code Ann. § (b)(1). The Arkansas Supreme Court recognized the requirement that proposals for new policies or amendments be submitted to the personnel policies committee in dicta contained in Hope Education Ass’n v. Hope School Dist., 310 Ark. 768, 839 S.W.2d 526 (1992). 31

32 Summary of How the Policy Adoption Process Works The proposal, whether formulated by the personnel policies committee or by the school board (or the superintendent), must be presented to the school board for final action. Upon presentation to the board, the board either adopts or rejects the proposal, or refers it back to the personnel policies committee for further study or revision. Ark. Code Ann. § (d) and (e). 32

33 Summary of How the Policy Adoption Process Works Proposals that are adopted are incorporated as a matter of law into all certified personnel contracts. Ark. Code Ann. § (a). However, such adopted proposals do not go into effect until the following fiscal year. Ark. Code Ann. § (b). Adopted proposals may go into effect prior to the following fiscal year if they have been adopted in accordance with the provisions of Ark. Code Ann. § et seq., and if they are approved by a majority of the certified personnel employed by the district, by a secret ballot vote. The vote must be conducted and counted by the personnel policies committee. Ark. Code Ann. § (b). 33

34 Distribution of Policies Each teacher or administrator being employed by a school district for the first time shall be given a copy of the school district’s personnel policies in effect at the time of his/her employment. A digital copy provided to an employee or an online copy that is accessible by internet or intranet will meet the requirements. A hard copy of all policies shall be available to review at each location (presumably, this means each campus or location in which certified personnel are located, as well as the administrative offices). A hard copy shall be given to the individual employee upon request of the employee. 34

35 Distribution of Policies Each teacher or administrator shall be furnished a copy of any amendments to the personnel policies within 30 days after approval of the amendments by the board of directors of the school district. A digital copy provided to an employee or an online copy that is accessible by Internet or intranet will meet the requirements. A hard copy of all amendments shall be available for review at each location. A hard copy shall be given to the individual employee upon request of the employee. Ark. Code Ann. §

36 Distribution of Policies Practice Tip: Ark. Code Ann. § (b)(2)(A) requires that a school district’s student discipline policies shall be reviewed annually by the district’s PPC. 36

37 CLASSIFIED PERSONNEL POLICIES & PPCS 37

38 Classified Personnel Policies & PPCs Per Ark. Code Ann. § (a)-(c): Each school district in the State of Arkansas shall have a set of written personnel policies, including the salary schedule for classified employees. There shall be 5 classifications of classified employees as provided in § (Maintenance, operation & custodians; transportation; food service; secretary & clerk; and aides & paraprofessionals). 38

39 Classified Personnel Policies & PPCs Personnel policies of concern to the classified personnel policies committee shall include, but are not limited to, the following terms and conditions of employment: – Salary schedule, fringe benefits, and other compensation issues; – Annual school calendar, including work days and holidays; – Evaluation procedures; – Leave; – Grievance procedures – Termination, nonrenewal or suspension; – Reduction in force; and – Assignments. 39

40 Posting Requirements A school district shall not receive in any year any additional state funding from the Public School Fund until the school district has posted on the school district’s website, in accordance with § , its current personnel policies for classified employees signed by the president of the school board, including any salary schedules as required by this subchapter. By September 15 of each year, a school district shall provide the ADE with the website address at which its current personnel policies for classified employees, including the salary schedule, may be found. Ark. Code Ann. § (d). 40

41 Composition & Election of the Classified PPC Each school district shall have a committee on personnel policies for classified employees which consist of at least 1 non-management classified representative from each of the following 5 classifications: – Maintenance, operation and custodians; – Transportation; – Food service; – Secretary and clerk; and – Aides and paraprofessionals. 41

42 Posting Requirements The provisions of Ark. Code Ann. § et seq., (concerning classified personnel employees) shall not apply in any school district which choose to officially recognize in its policy an organization which represents a majority of the non-management classified employees by way of collective bargaining. Ark. Code Ann. § (a). 42

43 Definitions “Classified employee” means any person employed by a school district under a written annual contract who is not required to have a teaching license issued by the ADE as a condition of employment. 43

44 Definitions “Classified employee administrator” means any classified or licensed employee who evaluates non-management classified employees and any classified employee who supervises but does not evaluate other classified employees if the (definition of) non- management classified employees excludes them. 44

45 Definitions “Non-management classified employee” means any classified employee who does not evaluate other classified employees. The non- management classified employees in a school district, at their discretion in an election conducted in accordance with § (c), include in this definition classified employees who supervise but do not evaluate other classified employees. Ark. Code Ann. § (b). 45

46 Composition & Election of the Classified PPC Each school district shall have a committee on personnel policies for classified employed which consist of at least 1 non-management classified representative from each of the following 5 classifications: – Maintenance, operation and custodians; – Transportation; – Food service; – Secretary and clerk; and – Aides and paraprofessionals. 46

47 Composition & Election of the Classified PPC All other job classifications of classified employees not identified in the 5 classifications may be grouped together and added as an at-large classification and shall have at least 1 non-management classified representative on the committee on classified personnel policies. (What other job classifications would those be?) 47

48 Composition & Election of the Classified PPC There shall be no more than 3 classified employee administrators on the committee, 1 of whom may be the superintendent of schools. The classified employee administrators on the committee shall be appointed by the school board of directors or its designee. So, what is the minimum number of members on the classified PPC? What is the maximum number? The non-management classified employee member of the committee shall be elected by a majority of all non- management classified employees voting by secret ballot. 48

49 Composition & Election of the Classified PPC The election shall be conducted solely and exclusively by the non-management classified employees, including distribution of ballots to all non-management classified employees. The election shall be conducted by mid-October. There shall be no additional monetary compensation for service on the committee. (“Thanks for all of your hard work on the PPC this year. Sorry we can’t give you any money for it, but please take one of our “Fighting Mud Hens” coffee mugs as a token of our appreciation.”) Ark. Code Ann. §

50 Incorporation of Personnel Policies into Employee Contracts The personnel policies of each school district shall be considered to be incorporated as terms of the classified employees’ contracts and shall be binding upon the classified employees and the school district. Any changes or additions to the personnel policies shall not be considered a part of classified employee contracts until the next fiscal year. Any changes or additions to the personnel policies may take effect before the next fiscal year only if the changes or additions are approved by a majority of the classified employees employed by the school district voting by secret ballot. 50

51 Incorporation of Personnel Policies into Employee Contracts The voting and counting of ballots shall be conducted by the classified personnel policy committee. All changes or additions to the classified personnel policies or new personnel policies shall be made in accordance with this subchapter. (Ark. Code Ann. § et seq.) Ark. Code Ann. §

52 OK, We’re a PPC – What Do We Do? The school district’s committee on personnel policies for classified employees shall organize itself in October, elect a chair and secretary, and develop a calendar of meetings throughout the year to review the school district’s personnel policies to: – Determine whether additional policies or amendments to existing policies are needed; – Review any policies or changes to policies proposed by the board of directors; and – Propose additional policies or amendments to existing personnel policies to the board of directors. 52

53 OK, We’re a PPC – What Do We Do? Minutes of the committee meetings shall be promptly reported and distributed to members of the board of directors and posted in the work sites of the school district, including administrative offices. Either the committee or the board of directors may propose new personnel policies or amendments to existing policies. 53

54 OK, We’re a PPC – What Do We Do? New personnel policies or amendments to existing personnel policies proposed by the board of directors may not be voted on by the board of directors as a school district policy unless the final form of the policy to be voted on has been submitted as a proposed policy to the committee for consideration at least 10 working days before the vote of the board of directors. The superintendent may recommend any changes in personnel policies to the board of directors or the personnel policies committee. 54

55 OK, We’re a PPC – What Do We Do? The recommendations may then become proposals at the discretion of either the board of directors or the committee. The chair of the committee or a committee member designated by the chair shall be placed on the board of directors’ agenda and shall have the opportunity to orally present to the board of directors the committee’s comments, positions, or proposals on the final form of any proposed policies or amendments to existing policies whether proposed by the committee or the board of directors, before they are voted on by the board of directors as school district policies. 55

56 OK, We’re a PPC – What Do We Do? After the oral presentation to the board of directors, final action may be taken immediately, but final action shall be taken no later than the next regular board of directors meeting. The board of directors may adopt, reject, or refer to the committee on personnel policies for further study and revision any proposed policies or amendments to existing policies that are submitted to the board of directors for consideration by the committee. Ark. Code Ann. §

57 Distribution of the Policies Each classified employee being employed by a school district for the first time shall be given a copy of the school district’s personnel policies in effect at the time of his/her employment. A digital copy provided to an employee or an online copy that is accessible by internet or intranet will meet the requirements of this section. A hard copy of all classified policies shall be available to review at each work location. Each classified employee shall be furnished a copy of any amendments to the personnel policies within 30 days after approval of the amendments by the board of directors of the school district. 57

58 Distribution of the Policies A digital copy provided to an employee or an online copy that is accessible by internet or intranet will meet the requirements of this section. A hard copy of all amendments shall be available for review at each work location. The individual employee shall be offered the choice of a hard copy or a digital copy. Ark. Code Ann. §

59 59 Scott Smith, Executive Director and Tripp Walter, Staff Attorney 1401 West Capitol, Suite 465, Little Rock, AR Phone: and


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