What the Eldora-New Providence School Board approved earlier Monday, the Hubbard-Radcliffe Board passed that evening. With the votes, both districts’ hourly employees are assured of getting paid through the duration of the mandated school closure – a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Iowa Association of School Boards developed a Pandemic Response & Emergency Suspension of Policy Resolution, which allows the district to make decisions and react to the issues school districts are facing during the pandemic. The resolution assures pay for all hourly staff through Sunday, April 12.
As of Monday night, 207 of 330 school districts in Iowa had passed the resolution. The Iowa Falls and Alden boards gave their OK last week. H-R and E-NP Superintendent Dr. Adam Zellmer said 10 school districts have publicly declined to adopt the resolution, asking hourly employees to go on unemployment. However, four have since reversed their decision.
Zellmer said there are multiple reasons to adopt the resolution. Above all of them is keeping quality employees who love their jobs and are willing to stay despite the chance at better pay elsewhere.
“If these folks go out and get another job, they don’t have to come back to us,” Zellmer said. “Then say we do get to come back on April 13, we’re trying to hire and train people and get them up to date and have them build a relationship with a kid that they have never had a relationship with.”
In addition, Zellmer said there is no real cost-savings to not paying staff during the closure. More than half the year has already passed, he noted, and the rest of the year has already been budgeted.
“We’ve already budgeted and planned for this entire school year, and have already taxed our public at the rate to pay all of these employees what we need to pay them,” Zellmer said. “It’s not going to be that much money that it’s going to help us save another teacher, or be able to go to smaller sections, or be able to buy another curriculum.”
Earlier in the day, Zellmer oversaw the E-NP School Board meeting. There he talked about at-home learning and the expectations of staff and students.
“As far as sitting in front of a computer from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., that’s not going to happen,” Zellmer said. “During this time of closure, there will be no requirements.”