School board could vote on dress code Tuesday
On the agenda
The Janesville School Board will hold a listening session from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St. The board will hold its regular meeting in the same building at 6:30 p.m. Agenda items include:
-- Possible discussion of a new handbook proposal that would govern staff use of electronic communications.
-- Presentation of proposed school staffing assumptions for 2013-14, which are unchanged from the current year. The assumptions are the basis for class sizes as well as most of the district's spending.
-- Acceptance of the resignation, effective Jan. 1, of longtime Parker High School science teacher Sean Hildebrandt.
The board will meet in closed session after the regular meeting to discuss early-retirement benefits and employee compensation. The board is considering changes in early-retirement benefits when current union contracts run out next summer. The board also will consider "employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data" of an employee or employees.
JANESVILLE The Janesville School Board could vote on a new staff dress code when it meets Tuesday.
Current rules call for teachers and other employees to dress "appropriately." A draft proposal that would define what is appropriate sparked controversy when it was introduced earlier this fall.
Some employees have said that few staff members dress inappropriately and that better enforcement is needed, not more detailed rules.
Superintendent Karen Schulte said principals and other supervisors should be given rules that are clear, enforceable and more specific.
A revised code sent to school board members Friday is shorter than the first draft and accommodates some of the criticisms.
For example, the code now includes a longer list of situations and jobs for which the dress code would not apply, including exceptions for hot weather and for staff who work with "the very young and/or behaviorally challenged students."
The list of permitted attire includes "professional attire, business, business-casual or clothing that is appropriate to the day's activities;" collared shirts; and sweaters, skirts, dresses and blouses for women.
Minor changes include the addition of turtlenecks and corduroys to the list of approved clothing.
The code no longer mentions that skirts must be "of modest length," but it continues to forbid clothing that "causes distraction," is "ill-fitting" or is "provocative."
The revision continues to say that principals and other supervisors would decide what is appropriate dress.
"Blue jean clothing of any color or style" continues to be on the list of no-nos.
"Leggings as primary pants" are banned. The previous drafts simply banned leggings.
The revision continues to include the potential for a supervisor to send an employee home to change and to dock the employee's pay for time lost. Employees would be responsible for asking their supervisors if the employees aren't sure about the rules.
The code would become a part of the new employee handbook. The handbook would replace rules that are now a part of union contacts, which expire June 30, 2013.
Dave Parr, president of the teachers union, said Sunday he hadn't read the revision, so he couldn't comment.
Parr said he was surprised the proposal is listed for a possible vote Tuesday, as his impression was that officials wanted to spend more time on it.
Parr said he thought the board was staying away from employee-handbook decisions until the courts settle challenges to a new state law known as Act 10. The law allows school boards to impose work rules rather than negotiate them in union contracts.