By Matt de Simone
The Botetourt County School Board has updated the leave and absence policy, extending to their employees the provisions of the State Sick Leave Plan for teachers plus certain supplementary provisions which provide additional security for employees during illness or emergency.
During the update, Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Russ explained that currently in the BCPS leaves and absences policy (GCBD), employees are granted the leave for a funeral or bereavement, but must take the leave from their accumulated sick leave.
“I’ve been in divisions where it’s both ways—you either use sick leave or you don’t have to use your sick leave,” Russ explained. “It’s my feeling that if our employees lose an immediate family member, they’re going through a lot. I don’t want them to have to worry about taking sick leave at this time.
“There could be cases where we have employees who have used all of their sick leave. The way our policy’s written now, if that’s the case, [the employee] would have to take leave without pay because they have no sick leave accumulated.”
The purpose for proposing this policy (GCBD-BR6) is to separate bereavement leave from sick leave. The new section, “bereavement leave,” states that if a full-time employee loses an immediate family member, they will be granted up to three days of bereavement leave without having to use their sick leave or personal leave. The board approved the policy change.
During Russ’s monthly report, the superintendent noted recent activities including the first FY24 budget work session taking place in January. Discussion included high-level factors that will impact the FY24 budget such as local composite index, enrollment, and economic factors at the state level. Governor Youngkin’s budget proposal was discussed and the potential changes that may occur through the budget cycle with the House and Senate proposals.
Russ mentioned that division and school administrators participated in the Western Virginia Public Education Consortium job fair at the Salem Civic Center on Jan. 29. A list of current teaching openings for the 2023-2024 school year can be found on the BCPS website (https://bcpsva.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx).
During his report on instruction, Russ highlighted BTEC students involved in various SkillsUSA competitions this month. BTEC currently has teams and individuals in a variety of areas including cosmetology, crime scene investigation, painting and refinishing, auto body repair, welding, masonry, electrical, and building trades. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. They serve more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. They improve the quality of the nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of SkillsUSA Framework skills that include personal, workplace, and technical skills grounded in academics.
For the full report from last week’s BCPS School Board meeting, visit https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/bcps/Board.nsf/Public. To watch last week’s board meeting in its entirety, visit www.bcps.live/archives.
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