Fox Point-Bayside School District close to finalizing employee handbook

Feb. 23, 2012

Fox Point - With a collective bargaining agreement set to end at the end of the current school year, teachers and other employee groups in the Fox Point-Bayside School District will have a handbook outlining a number of details, including job expectations.

The School Board this week approved a draft document that was assembled after numerous meetings between administrators and teachers.

"We have been meeting monthly with a representative group of nine teachers to go over the various elements of the handbook," District Administrator Rachel Boechler said. "The group provided feedback and input, which resulted in some revisions to the handbook. There were, however, areas of disagreement between the administration and the teacher representatives, and in those cases the administration's decision prevailed."

Changes to the original draft of the handbook include the 2012-13 calendar, language involving termination with or without cause, dress code, use of district property, mileage reimbursement and use of vehicles to transport children.

Boechler said items that remained unchanged after teacher input included some language within dress code standards, as well as performance standards and evaluation practices.

While the board approved the handbook, the document is not expected to be set in stone. Revisions will likely be made to it in the years ahead.

"This is a whole new world for us," Boechler said. "It's been a challenging year. I think we've covered it all, but you never know."

The process of building the handbook began with a draft boilerplate version from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. Boechler said some of the language within that version was considered harsh and legalistic and was toned down in an effort to take a middle-of-the-road approach.

The board was supportive of Boechler's recommendations, though a few tweaks were made to dress code language in an effort to prevent the possibility of any sexual harassment cases. Language will clearly state female employees wear skirts and blouses of a particular length.

"It's implied, but if it isn't specified, it can't be enforced," board member Eliz Greene said of the language presented at the meeting Monday. "I don't think this will be an issue for any of our teachers, but it's still good to have it in (the handbook)."

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