School Board Holds off on Employee Handbook Decisions
But the conversation at Monday's Greenfield School Board meeting brought into question just what the role of the board members is or should be.
With the intention of doing their due diligence – and not cramming too much more into what was already a 3-hour meeting – the Greenfield School Board held off approving employee handbooks Monday.
They will likely do so, or at least discuss them with administration, at the August board meeting at the suggestion of board member Cathy Walsh, who said Greenfield should follow in the footsteps of other districts and take its time.
“When it comes to employee handbooks, we shouldn’t be isolated,” she said. “We really should be considering what’s happening in other districts, that we’re comparable, that we’re not doing anything extraordinary that would make us stand out and make people not want to come here.”
Board member Pam Sierzchulski said she was fine with postponing the discussion and decision a month, but questioned whether it was the board’s place to micromanage the district.
“That’s what we hired these administrators for,” she said. “That’s what they get paid to do.
“They’re the experts. … Yes, it’s too much for one night, but I get the feeling we want to interpret each and every clause and I don’t think that’s or role, at least it hasn’t been.”
Russ Spahn said that’s exactly what the role of the board should be.
“It’s our obligation, our duty as representatives of the community as an elected body to make sure our administrators are doing their job,” he said. “I haven’t seen that accountability.
“I don’t want to see anything approved at this time that isn’t reviewed carefully by this board,” Spahn continued. “We owe it to the employees. This is their book. This is everything they live by between the administration and the board, and it is critical that we get it right.”
According to Superintendent Conrad Farner, there were no major proposed changes to the handbook, which he said was established with some teacher feedback before the 2011-12 school year.
“We do have the advantage of knowing we operated for a year with these handbooks in place and really had no issues as a result of that,” he said. “Comments I heard were this handbook’s not bad. Some of the concerns they had proved to not bear out. We’re not far off; these worked for us for a year already.”