By Kate Stevens
Special to The Advocate
July 12, 2012
LUTCHER — The St. James Parish School Board voted Tuesday to clear up uncertainties in its employee annual leave policy.
The district’s former policy on annual leave was unclear, Superintendent Alonzo Luce said.
With the policy change, employees will accrue leave time each month, instead of receiving all of their leave time at the end of the year, Luce said.
The policy change also limits to 20 days the amount of leave time an employee may accrue, but permits employees to roll over the leave time to the next year, Luce said.
In the past, employees were forced to use all of their leave time by the end of the year, Luce said.
The board also voted to create a sick-leave donation bank, which allows for “catastrophic illnesses,” Luce said.
The donation bank would permit school employees to donate leave days to other employees with a nonwork-related illness or injury that is anticipated to last for at least two weeks, according to the policy.
Employees may donate sick leave for only the current year and are limited to donating a maximum of 10 days per year, Luce said.
School Board members Richard Reulet Jr., Kenneth Foret, Carol Lambert, George Nassar Jr. and Charles Nailor voted to approve the changes.
School Board members Patricia Schexnayder and Diana Cantillo were absent.
The School Board also approved the district’s student policy manual for the 2012-13 school year, but noted that the regulations on student expulsion could change in the future.
A new state education law requires school superintendents to assign a student facing expulsion to an alternative school center but does not mention whether the student can appeal the decision, Luce said.
School boards have the authority to expel a student, and the student may then appeal that decision, Luce said.
St. James Parish School officials asked the state Department of Education whether the new law includes an appeals process.
“We got strange answers back that we can’t make sense of,” Luce said.
The board approved the student policy manual as it is written, but acknowledged there could be changes made to it when state education officials respond to the district’s questions.