Changes to school policy this year are covering all aspects of how Havre Public Schools run, from the tools students can use to learn, to the compensation for the paraprofessionals who help the schools function.
The Havre Public Schools’ Board of Trustees passed several changes to district policy and student handbooks from across the elementary district.
For students, the changes to the handbook covered several subjects, including not bringing pets on field trips or Title I services, but others reflect the district’s increasing focus on technology and how it can be used.
Several schools amended their “Personal Technology” sections. What was once a ban on distracting devices now clears the way for students to bring tablets like the iPad or e-readers like the Kindle to use in class, though it clarifies to parents that the school is not responsible for damage, theft or loss to these expensive devices.
Many schools changed their “Emergency Dismissal” section to inform parents that the schools will begin using Hi-Line Text Alerts, at www.text.hiline.us, in addition to radio announcements to notify parents of sudden closures or other emergency information.
For the staff of Havre Public Schools, the board modified their Family Medical Leave policy, adding in new provisions for military service members and their relatives employed by the district, as well as adding “qualifying exigencies” clauses to provide the district with discretion in specific cases.
The contract with the schools’ paraprofessionals was also passed at the meeting, adding a bereavement leave provision, which provides five days per year for a loss of family that cannot roll over from one year to the next. Vacation, however, now does roll over.
The new contract holds base pay steady this year at $9.91 per hour, with a half-percent increase to $9.96 per hour for the 2013-2014 school year, as well as a few cents increase on longevity raises.
Employees working for 18 months will now get a 20-cent per hour raise, rather than 15 cent per hour. While an employee working more than 15 years would now get a $1.90 per hour raise, rather than a $1.53 per hour raise.