Why did we develop an employee handbook?

The district and employee unions negotiated employee contracts which remain in effect for this school year.  Because of Act 10, when our Collective Bargaining Agreements end on June 30, 2016, we are responsible for developing a handbook to take the place of those contracts.

What is the purpose of the employee handbook?

The employee handbook is a comprehensive resource for all employees. It is meant to be a “one-stop shop” that includes information formerly included in the Collective Bargaining Agreements, HR policies and Board policies. It outlines the responsibilities of all employees and of district administration.

When will the employee handbook go into effect?

The employee handbook will go into effect on July 1, 2016, after our current Collective Bargaining agreements expire.

How was the handbook developed?

We are one of the only districts to develop our handbook through a comprehensive, collaborative process.  

Over the past several months, a jointly-appointed oversight committee, made up of district and employee representatives, worked collaboratively to develop the handbook. The oversight group also included four joint sub-committees that worked with subject matter experts to guide the development of specific parts of the handbook.

The oversight group used our current collective bargaining agreements as the foundation for their discussion and used the results of a staff survey to inform decisions. Through many hours of meeting together over the past several months, the group was able to come to a consensus on the content of the handbook.

Were there any unresolved issues?

While we reached consensus on every provision in the handbook, there is one issue that we are continuing to work toward resolving, which is labeled as “to be determined” in the handbook. That remaining issue is the hiring process for support units.

District and employee representatives have agreed to continue to meet and discuss this issue. Given that the Handbook does not go into effect until July 1, 2016, this group will continue to meet and develop final language that the Board will approve before the Handbook takes effect in the 2016-17 school year.

What is the same or different in the employee handbook from our collective bargaining agreements?

Key items incorporated into the handbook without substantive change include: salary schedules, insurance benefits, holidays, retirement benefits, and sick leave. The oversight group agreed that it was important to retain many of these essential items as they provide stability for our employees groups in a time of change.

The oversight group was also able to come to consensus on numerous new items including: attendance, lactation regulations, employee identification badges, district property, honesty, obligation to report criminal record, dress code, and wellness. In these areas, the oversight group agreed that it was important to directly address some issues where guidance to date has been lacking in Board policy, HR policy, and the collective bargaining agreements.

Finally, the oversight group was able to agree on substantive changes in the areas of: leaves of absence, insurance for substitutes, evaluation procedures, recall period, school calendar, new teacher training, parent/teacher conferences, attendance at school events, and 70/30 split in use of a teacher’s personal illness leave and teacher assignment. These were areas in which the oversight group agreed that changes were warranted based on a set of criteria including need for consistency among employee groups, efficient use of resources, alignment to educational policy and removal of impediments to improving student achievement.

Will the employee handbook ever be revised?

Yes. The same jointly appointed group that developed the handbook will meet annually to discuss any possible revisions. That annual review process will be informed through feedback from staff (which you can give on this page) as well as monthly meetings with employee and administration representatives. Any possible revisions will be presented to the board for a vote.

How can I learn more about the employee handbook?

The district and union representatives will hold several informational sessions throughout this school year before the handbook goes into effect on July 1, 2016. The first two sessions are scheduled for October 22 and December 9 from 4:30pm to 6pm. Check back here or keep an eye out in MMSD Connect for location information and additional sessions.