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By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

Worland school board begins discussion on maternity leave

 

February 27, 2020



WORLAND – The Worland school board met at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night to approve different projects happening in the district, as well as begin discussions on making paid maternity leave a separate category from sick leave.

Currently maternity leave is allowed as part of a sick leave bank that must be stored up as part of district policy 1.15. Under the proposed change, the district would make maternity leave a separate category, and guarantee six calendar weeks of paid leave for a natural birth, and eight calendar weeks for a caesarean section (C-section) birth during the school year. Additional sick bank leave would be able to be used if there are complications in the birthing process and more time is needed to take off to spend with the child. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) this would also apply to the adoption of a child.

Currently, Platte County School District No. 1 (Wheatland) is the only school district that offers paid maternity leave in Wyoming after passing it last September, with only a handful of other places offering it across the nation for teachers.

According to Superintendent David Nicholas, the only other alternative to stored sick days at this time is invoking the FMLA, which would give 12 weeks of leave, but the mother would not be paid for the time off.

According to Business Manager Jack Stott and Nicholas, this would not be a significant cost increase to the district, and would be a positive change that teachers would appreciate the board for adding it as a separate category.

“It’s time,” Nicholas said.

No action was taken at the meeting.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business at the Monday meeting:

•Nicholas reported that enrollment is down 42 from last year, down to 1,224 students district wide. Nicholas and Stott said they will also not be recommending a retirement incentive for this year. Nicholas also reported that they are beginning to look at an overall safety plan for the district in anticipation of a bill passing through the legislative session that would require the district to have one.

•The board approved a capital project to replace the floors at East Side Elementary over the summer, and is going to begin looking into bids for the project. The board approved Basin Mechanical out of Cody to replace the boiler at the Worland Aquatic Center for the pool, with a bid of $165,640 being approved for the project.

•All administrative contracts were renewed for the next year.

•Board President Don Bryant was informed by Vickie Overcast that he was awarded the Friend of Education award by the Wyoming Education Association, with a banquet coming at the end of March in celebration.

•In the Business Manager’s report, Stott said that the plans for the Worland Middle School security upgrades would be finalized this week, as well as additional cameras being added to the front of all schools shortly after school gets out.

•East Side Elementary Principal Chris Peterson said that kindergarten registration will be held March 17-19 from 3:30-6 p.m. and that about $50,000 was raised to purchase new playground equipment that will be added in this summer. Peterson also said there will be a first-grade program on March 5 at 7 p.m.

•Curriculum Director Jodi Rakness stressed the importance of the 2020 census and the impact it has on federal funding for schools, and also praised the district for the work it does helping students graduate regardless of living situation as the graduation rate continues to grow each year. Rakness also reported that they are starting to begin planning for summer school.

•The board will be hosting a preliminary budget work session prior to their next meeting on March 23 at 6 p.m. to start planning the budget for the next school year.

•Dustin Sumida was approved to become the new middle school boys assistant swim coach, pending certification.

•Luke Mortimer, Wyatt Wyman, Mack Page, Denali Jones, Carley Yule and Danny Ramon all received good sportsmanship awards for basketball games.

The board entered in to executive session at the end of the night to discuss personnel.

 
 

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