The Emporia Public Schools Board of Education adopted a resolution to continue the wage payments of regular staff during an online meeting Wednesday evening.
An excerpt from the resolution reads, “Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Education of Emporia Unified School District 253 authorizes continued wage payments to all regular employees, including regular salaried and hourly employees and employees under current contract with the board who are instructed not to report to work on days they would otherwise be required to be working during an emergency closing. The authority granted by this resolution to continue wage payments to idled employees is effective for the period of March 25, 2020 through June 30, 2020, unless the board takes action to authorize payment during a longer duration.”
USD 253 Superintendent Kevin Case said there would need to be further discussion before a decision was made for employees falling outside of the “regular” classification, but said the matter was moving along quickly.
“There are a few little glitches in that, which we’ve been working through, but for 90 to 95 percent of the [employment] situations, they’re pretty simple for us to resolve,” Case said. “There’s that 5 to 10 percent of little things that we’re having to figure out.”
In other business Wednesday, the board also approved a resolution to waive its existing graduation policy and adopt the minimum graduation requirements required by the KSDE for the class of 2020.
While no official graduation ceremony is planned at this time, board members hope the short-term policy will combine with existing rules to help prevent any disruption in students’ higher-education or work careers.
“Students who complete all state and local graduation requirements may request permission to graduate early,” reads USD 253 Board Policy JFCA. “The student and parents shall consult with high school administrative and/or guidance personnel in order to develop a graduation plan. The board or designee shall approve or deny each request based on the circumstances of the individual student.”
Board Policy IHF further stipulates:
“Exceptions may be granted by the board to waive local graduation requirements that are in excess of the state minimum requirements for students on a case-by-case basis. The board shall award a student a diploma if the student is at least 17 years old; is enrolled or resides in the district; was in custody of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections, the Secretary for DCF, or a federally recognized Indian tribe in this state at any time on or after the student’s 14th birthday; and has achieved at least the minimum high school graduation requirements adopted by the state board of education.”
While the majority of Emporia High seniors are expected to graduate, Case said school administration would be more than willing to help students and families work through more complicated cases.
“The rationale behind this is that we’re going to continue to try to provide a good learning experience for our students through the end of the school year,” Case said. “But, we also know that there’ll be a time for summer to come … I think it’s going to be a real stretch, but I also think it’s going to be a real opportunity for our staff and for our students. By the time we get to that next to last week in May, everybody’s going to be ready for school to be done, and we’ll have met requirements laid out there by the KSDE.”
During the meeting, the board also:
• Approved a bid from Kansas Truck Equipment for two new buses in the amount of $175,192 and accepted a National Clean Diesel Rebate of $40,000 ($20,000 per bus) to offset the purchase
• Approved a $34,500 bid from Muckenthaler Inc. to be used in the purchase of a Blodgett brand combination oven/steamer for the district’s central food service kitchen