One of the main topics of discussion was the RISE Teacher Attendance policy and how it will affect CCS teachers.
Superintendent Kim Tucker said the Indiana Department of Education provided the RISE models of development and evaluation and CCS is working to adapt their policies to the RISE guidelines.
"We spent a considerable amount of time studying this instrument," Tucker said.
Tucker went on to describe a section of the RISE instrument called the "Core Professional Rubric." One of the subjects within the Core Professional Rubric deals with teacher attendance.
Tucker said CCS's decision allows every teacher eight sick days and three personal days per school year. Teachers are allowed to use all of these days in a school year with no penalty.
Furthermore, the administration will not penalize teachers for bereavement days or days taken under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, teachers are able to take off time in the event of a serious illness or disease either for himself or herself, a parent or a child.
Tucker stressed the importance of teacher attendance, saying the more a teacher is in the classroom, the better students perform.
"Our goal is to keep quality teachers in front of students every day," Tucker said.
Tucker said according to calculations done based on teacher attendance in the previous school year, teachers were absent from school an average of 420 times a month. Tucker said that number not only impacts the students, but it impacts the school corporation as well, as they are required to pay millions of dollars for substitute teachers every year.
For every day past the eight sick days or three personal days per year a teacher takes, they will be deducted one point under the RISE evaluation model. This evaluation model rates teachers on a scale of one to four, with one being the lowest at "Ineffective" and four being the highest at "Highly Effective." That attendance deduction could mean as much as taking a teacher's performance level down from "highly effective" to "effective" according to Tucker.
Board member Ron Scherb was opposed to this attendance policy.
"The problem I have with it is discounting job performance based on the elements," said Scherb. "There's a thousand reasons why a teacher could be absent from school, and we're basically threatening them with dismissal. If they lose a point for attendance that may not necessarily be their fault. I've never believed in threatening people in their jobs, and this whole RISE program, to me, is just one big threat. I don't like this at all. I don't agree with it."
Fellow board members Tina Heffner and Jennifer Kaebler stated that in other jobs and companies, employees are often given a lower number of sick days and personal days, and that the CCS RISE policy on attendance is generous.
Kaebler said even when she had a sick child who was often in and out of the hospital, she was able to work with the number of sick days she was given and incorporate FMLA days as well.
"I don't think this is unreasonable by any means," said Kaebler. "Most companies offer this many days or less."
The RISE teacher attendance policy was ultimately adopted by the board with a vote of 5-1, with Scherb opposed.
In other meeting news, the board,
* Voted 6-0 to accept the donation of labor to install additional sidewalk access at the Van Buren playground,
* Approved the continuation of gravel purchasing vouchers for CCS bus drivers who park school buses at their homes,
* Voted to approve a contract for a special education disproportionality reduction program coordinator who will work to proportion discipline between special education and regular education students. Currently special education students receive more in-school suspensions than regular education students. The Department of Education mandates that those numbers must be proportioned, and
* Submitted the first reading on the revised Policy 3441 regarding bids received to the school corporation.