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Proposed policy changes restricting employee sales on school property getting a rewrite

September 09, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Proposed revisions to a policy that restricts employee sales on Washington County Public Schools property was sent back to the drawing board for a rewrite.

Deputy Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael told Board of Education members the policy is not about fundraisers, but about school system employees gaining or profiting from selling items on campus.

During the Sept. 4 school board meeting, some concerns were expressed about the employee sales policy. Though revisions are being proposed, the current policy is basically the same, as employees are prohibited from selling items on school system property for personal profit or gain.

If employees want to put candy bars for sale in a break room to raise money for a not-for-profit organization, such as Little League, they could do so with the permission of the supervisor or school principal, said Michael, referring to the proposed revisions for policy.

But under the proposed policy, employees are not supposed to sell items for profit on a school campus or use the school system’s email to sell things for personal profit or gain, Michael said.

To make sure he understood clearly, board member Justin Hartings said he could not sell Longaberger baskets at school, but the policy would allow him to sell Girl Scout cookies, with his supervisor’s permission, to benefit his daughter’s troop. He was told that was correct.

But an employee could not send a blast sales pitch through the school system’s email system to sell Girl Scout cookies because of another policy, because email is only to be used for official school business, Chief Legal Counsel Anthony Trotta said.

Board President Wayne Ridenour said he still thought the proposed policy had “some holes.”

A teacher who calls another teacher to see if there is interest in buying a basket and brings the basket into school so it can be exchanged for money could be in violation of the policy, Ridenour said.

“Sometimes we get too hung up on, you know, I think what we’re trying to do is keep people from setting up a business in the school, and that I understand,” Ridenour said. “Sometimes with policies, you know, everybody draws the line at a different spot and that’s when we run into problems.”

One school supervisor might say it’s OK to sell candy bars, while a supervisor at another school might say “no,” he said.

“I understand what you want to get out of it. I think it goes too, it goes too far,” Ridenour said.

Trotta said school system officials aren’t seeing any issues in schools regarding the policy.

Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox asked staff to take the proposed policy back and craft language stating employees can’t establish a private business on school premises.

“I think what I’m hearing the board say is that this policy could be used for good or for bad. If I don’t like you and you sell a candy bar, then that’s going to be a whole different set of consequences than if I do like you and you sell a candy bar. I know nobody wants to say that, but I guess as superintendent it’s my job to say it,” Wilcox said.

Board Vice President and Policy Committee Chairwoman Jacqueline Fischer said the proposed policy changes were, as an example, to try to stop employees who sell Tupperware from coming into school and handing out brochures and selling Tupperware for a profit.

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