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Heart River to pilot leave program for staff

The Heart River Elementary staff will soon have the opportunity to take a fraction of a day off instead of the minimum half day of personal time.

The program, a pilot program affecting only Heart River Elementary at this time, was discussed at Wednesday's Dickinson Public Schools collaborative bargaining meeting.

The current policy states, a staff member can take only a minimum of a half a day of personal leave, said Vince Reep, Dickinson Public business manager and director of personnel. The new pilot program will allow staff to take personal time in blocks of two hours.

Superintendent Paul Stremick said in some cases if classes can be covered by other staff, no leave will be taken.

"If we have to pay a sub to cover (classes), there would be some leave taken," said Superintendent Paul Stremick.

Reep said he will soon be drawing up an agreement to pilot the program at Heart River, which will need to be signed by both the school board and the Dickinson Education Association.

"I think it's worth a shot to try," Reep said. "Maybe it's not as big of a deal as people think, but maybe it will be great and everyone will want to try it."

Other matters discussed at Wednesday's meeting included potentially setting limits on professional development leave.

Reep noted that 642 and one half days of professional development leave days were granted last year.

"I would really like to see some statistics on unique individuals, I don't need names," Stremick said.

Data and information regarding leave days granted and denied is expected to be brought back to the team at their next meeting for discussion.

Concern over the pay for bus drivers was brought up by Hrouda, who suggested a $20 stipend for each bus driver per trip. Stremick suggested a five percent increase in mileage rate would be easier than a lump sum and would even out to be about the same. Hrouda said he would take it back to the bus drivers and coaches for their feelings on the topic.

The next meeting of the collaborative bargaining team is set to be held at 4 p.m., March 18, at the Central Administration Building.