School District 42 is asking for public input into language that has been either inserted or removed from their policies and procedures regarding trustees’ remuneration and political activities within schools.
The policies came up for review as part of our regular review process, explained school board chair Korleen Carreras.
“Policy 2920 Trustee Remuneration was just a housekeeping change to remove the language on optional benefits as trustees are no longer eligible to receive benefits,”said Carreras.
Also language explaining how much of a school board trustee’s compensation is considered taxable and how much non-taxable was also removed.
Carreras noted that starting in 1953, elected officials at the local government level were eligible to receive 1/3 of their remuneration tax free in recognition of work related expenses. However, this was changed by the federal government in March 2017.
“The language regarding the taxable portion was to bring the policy in line with changes to the federal income tax act that came into effect on January 1, 2019.
With regards to policies in place for political activities, Carreras said, language was added in response to requests from staff and the public, to be more specific in what was considered political activity.
Now the policy defines what a political activity means and sets out guiding principles that include: school district employees are not permitted to conduct political activities in the workplace or use school district facilities, equipment or supplies for political activity; that political campaign signs and materials shall not be placed on school district property or distributed to staff, students, volunteers and parents in school district facilities or on school grounds; that school district facilities may be rented for all candidates meetings during election periods; that school district facilities may be rented by political parties; and that elected officials may be invited to participate in school events organized with the purpose of students learning about civics and our democratic system of government.
“This policy has been in place for many years and the updates are really just to ensure that partisan political activity is not happening in our schools while students are attending class,” explained Carreras, emphasizing that the policy does not prevent hosting all candidate debates during election periods or the ability to invite elected officials into classrooms as guest speakers.
The public, said Carreras, has 30 days from the date when the policies were presented to give input.
The policies were presented April 14.
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