KUSD “transition” employee handbook adopted with 1 amendment

The “transition” employee handbook for the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) service employees was adopted by the board tonight with one amendment.  The vote was 4 to 2 in favor of adopting the handbook (Bob Nuzzo and David Gallo were the two dissenting voters).

At its June 12, 2012, meeting, the Personnel/Policy Committee voted to forward the “transition” employee handbook to the school board for consideration.

The amendment made by Jo Ann Taube was to keep the “just cause” clause for one more year.  This is a common provision in collective bargaining agreements that establishes specific guidelines for the employers to follow when disciplining or terminating employees.  Bob Nuzzo spoke against the “just cause” clause.  He said that he “ran for the board with accountability.  Just cause doesn’t speak to accountability; at will does.”

Carl Bryan said that he thought it was fair to include the “just cause” clause.  He stated that ‘”just cause’ is the least we can expect.”  Nuzzo again spoke against it.  “Our responsibility is to our students.  We need to put their values first.  If we don’t, then we’ve failed as a board.”

Rebecca Stevens stated that she supported ‘just cause.’  “We hire the right people, and have good administrators, who are fair.  I don’t agree with ‘at will.’  We need to quit blaming and shaming.  This is the best district to work for, and we’re not afraid to include ‘just cause.’

Effective July 1, 2012, the collective bargaining agreement between KUSD and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was set to expire.  With the implementation of Act 10, which prohibits unions and employers from bargaining over conditions of employment other than wages, the board was required to adopt an employee handbook.  For current SEIU employees, this handbook must be in place effective July 1, 2012. For all other groups, the handbook must be in place effective July 1, 2013.

The goal was to develop an employee handbook committee to create a “district-wide handbook” that will cover all employees. Because this committee will not be convened until the summer of 2012, it was necessary for the board to approve a “transition” employee handbook for service employees.  During the transition, the administration recommended that the handbook contain the following components:

1. Department Work Rules and Procedures
2. Personnel Guidebook (http://www.kusd.edu/media/pdf/hr/emphandbook.pdf)
3. One year Salary Schedule; and
4. Employee Benefit Outline.


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