School board wrestles with worker pay issues

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lincoln County School District board members continued towrestle Monday with the ramifications of labor law settlements by110 school districts in the past several years.

The Lincoln County district was not sued. However, it is seekingto fall into compliance with labor law after discrepancies werefound in how many districts conduct their employee paysituations.

The lawsuits, filed between 2002 and 2005, alleged somedistricts were not properly keeping up with the amount of timetheir employees worked and not adequately compensating them fortheir overtime. It was deemed during the lawsuits that sign in andsign out time sheets maintained by most districts was not stringentenough, according to Jim Keith, the board’s attorney.

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The State Auditor’s office has recently begun examiningdistricts to see if they comply with the higher standards.

Teachers and some other employees are hired on contracts whileothers are paid hourly. Hourly workers are the most affected by thechanges, but the board said earlier this month that all employeeswill be required to “clock” in and out under a still to bedetermined system.

The board approved a motion to advertise for a timekeepingsystem Monday.

The system could be based on badges, fingerprints or even eyescans. However, board members expect a badge system will be theleast expensive.

Also Monday, the board had to restructure the pay system forsome employees to meet the new standards. The changes did notresult in more pay for the employees, but changed their method ofearning their pay.

For instance, an employee that was hired to clean the CentralOffice had to be reclassified as a contract worker at a set monthlyrate in order to meet the requirements.

A second employee who made a set amount per month, regardless ofhours worked, had to be adjusted to a hourly pay schedule. Thebusiness office calculated his average number of hours per monthand set the hourly rate to match that amount while capping thetotal number of hours he would be permitted to work each month.

There were several other pay adjustments in specializedareas.

The board also approved the employee and student handbooks withfew changes. The employee handbook was changed to reflect thechanges in pay resulting from the lawsuits while the banishment ofiPods and other electronic devices were added to the studenthandbook.