#RedforEd & School Closure

  • The answers below were generated to keep us connected as questions are asked by teachers and staff about #RedforEd and school closures. We appreciate everyone's understanding and patience as we work together to resolve questions and post information for your review.

    Update: We want staff to be aware that on the afternoon of April 27, a group filed an initiative with the Arizona Secretary of State, The Invest in Education Initiative, to increase educational funding; that group has begun the process of collecting signatures to place this measure on the November ballot.  Please be aware that because of this action, there is now an election measure that falls within the purview of A.R.S. § 15-511.  Employees are directed to carefully review the materials located on our website, in particular the memo from legal counsel at the bottom of the page. This update is similar to direction that is given during any election season.

Questions & Answers

  • Will balance of contract paychecks be impacted by the additional contract days? (5/9/18)

    Posted by:

    Yes.  Certified employees will now receive a ‘regular’ paycheck on May 31 instead of a balance of contract paycheck.  Balance of contract paychecks will now be issued on June 14.  Balance of contract paychecks will also be one pay period smaller, as certified employees will receive an additional paycheck on May 31. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Can certified employees request personal leave for any 5 of the 6 make-up days? (5/9/18)

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    Yes. Certified staff may choose when to take personal days within the six additional contract days (May 29, May 30, May 31, June 1, June 4 and June 5).

    Comments (-1)
  • What options do certified employees have who do not have any personal days? (5/9/18)

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    For certified employee who do not have any remaining personal days, they may either (1) work or (2) elect to be docked pay.

    Comments (-1)
  • What options exist for certified employees who have conflicts with the additional days? (5/9/18)

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    What if an employee has another job, has a planned vacation, has a personal obligation... and cannot work the additional six contract days? All teacher contracts have been extended until June 5. Teachers may (1) work, (2) take personal days, or (3) elect to be docked pay for these days.

    Comments (-1)
  • How do certified employees enter eligible authorized absence requests for make-up days? (5/9/18)

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    Certified employees should utilize the Absence Management system to absence information. Certified employees may enter personal time, or certified absence without pay, for any of the six days they are not going to work.  Please indicate substitute not required. If a certified employee enters more personal time than they currently have available, their pay will be docked for any time entered that they do not have enough personal time to cover. Similarly, certified employees who enter Certified Absence without pay in Absence Management will be docked pay.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will teaching Summer Academy be addressed during the make-up days? (5/9/18)

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    Teachers cannot be paid for other work in the district while on contract. Teachers will complete their work for Summer Academy as part of their six additional contract days. Starting on June 6, teachers will begin to be paid on a PAR for their Summer Academy work.

    Comments (-1)
  • Do certified employees have to work the additional days if they're not returning next year? (5/9/18)

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    All teacher contracts have been extended until June 5. Teachers may (1) work, (2) take personal days, or (3) elect to be docked pay for these days.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can certified employees apply sick time for illness experienced during school closure? (5/9/18)

    Posted by:

    No. Certified employees may not use sick time during the make-up days for illness experienced during the school closure days. An illness that occurred during the school closure is similar to an illness that occurs during a school break or on a weekend. As one does not submit sick days during a break, one would not submit a sick day during a school closure.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can certified employees utilize sick time to make up the six additional contract days? (5/9/18)

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    Per page 8 of the Certified Meet and Confer document, sick days can be used “for absences caused by illness, physical disability, or medical appointment or treatment that cannot be scheduled outside of the school day of the teacher, spouse, partner, parents, spouses/partner’s parents, siblings, and/or children. In addition, this benefit may be used for any relative living within the household who is claimed as a dependent.”

    Comments (-1)
  • Can certified employees work days other than the identified six to make up time, such as Saturdays?

    Posted by:

    5/9/18

    No. The Kyrene Governing Board approved an extended calendar that includes six days- May 29, May 30, May 31, June 1, June 4 and June 5. Teachers may (1) work, (2) take personal days or (3) elect to be docked pay for these days.

    Comments (-1)
  • Will documentation be required from certified employees if they request sick time? (5/9/18)

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    Per the Certified Meet and Confer document, a supervisor may request explanation or verification of sick day use when a pattern of use is noted, there is a question of the continuity of quality instruction being maintained, when the procedures have not been followed, or when the absence exceeds five (5) consecutive work days.

    In addition, the Certified Meet and Confer document states “In the event that it can be shown that a teacher willfully violated or misused this sick day policy or misrepresented any statement or condition under this policy, he/she may be subject to reprimand and/or loss of pay for the days misused.”

    Comments (-1)
  • When can ESP staff make up their hours from work time lost during school closure days? (5/9/18)

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    Makeup hours can occur between May 25 and June 5. In some circumstances, less than full-time employees may be able to make up hours prior to May 25 with supervisor approval.

    If work duties are available, and if employees would like to work optional makeup hours, the following guidelines must be observed:

    • Employees who are less than 1.0 FTE (40 hours) may work up to a 40-hour work week, with supervisor approval.
    • Employees will not be permitted to work over 40 hours per week.
    • Additional duties will be paid at the employee’s current rate of pay.
    • School and department supervisors are required to track all makeup hours to ensure a match between work hours missed with work hours made up. (If supervisors authorize any additional hours, the school or department budget will be charged accordingly.)

    For those employees who have accrued comp time during the school year, payout will occur on June 14 as is customary. Payout of comp time is not related to any make up hours worked.

    Comments (-1)
  • How should ESP staff record additional hours worked? (5/9/18)

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    ESP employees should use the Kronos time clock to record any hours worked.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can ESP staff utilize ACA time to make up any of the hours they missed due to the walkout? (5/9/18)

    Posted by:

    No.  ACA time cannot be utilized to make up work hours.

    Comments (-1)
  • Are staff able to complete open enrollment for 2018/19 benefits during school closure?

    Posted by:

    Yes, iVisions is accessible for open enrollment.  Please see  https://www.kyrene.org/Page/909 for more information. All current benefit eligible employees are required to log-in to the iVisions portal to complete their annual benefits enrollment during the open enrollment window. (Benefits do NOT roll over from the current school year.) Open enrollment will close at 4:30pm on May 4, 2018. 

    Comments (-1)
  • What is prohibited by A.R.S. § 15-511? (Rev. 4/27/18)

    Posted by:

    Employees are directed to the Kyrene website for an explanation of what political activity is allowed.  As of April 27, 2018, groups associated with #RedforEd have pulled petitions with the Arizona Secretary of State regarding a ballot initiative to increase education funding.  Because an initiative may appear on the ballot, advocating for that initiative using school resources would be prohibited by A.R.S. § 15-511.  This may include the wearing of shirts, displaying of signs, or other promotional activities at school that have messages related to the initiative or #RedforEd.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can groups hold #RedforEd activities on school property? (Rev. 4/27/18)

    Posted by:

    Employees are directed to the Kyrene website for an explanation of what political activity is allowed. Employees are required to utilize public spaces to meet and participate in any coordinated #RedforEd activities. Employees and groups must complete a Request for Use of Facilities for the use of space on school property, ensuring a certificate of insurance be provided by the group to cover any potential liabilities particularly involving community members invited to attend and participate.

    Participants should be reminded that these activities should not disrupt the instruction of students, nor the operation of schools, being careful not to interrupt the flow of students and families entering the school. Staff must also remember that they are required to report for any duty, parent/student meetings, or any professional obligations that may occur during the time of a #RedforEd activity.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees display messaging regarding #RedforEd (i.e., clothing and signs)? (Rev. 4/27/18)

    Posted by:

    Employees are directed to the Kyrene website for an explanation of what political activity is allowed. Employees may exercise their first amendment right with the understanding that activities do not create a disruption to the instructional environment. Clothing or signs that specifically advocate for political action to influence an election are prohibited. Teachers and staff may wear red in support of #RedforEd, but we are advising against signs and shirts that contain any messaging regarding #RedforEd. Please remember that the penalty under A.R.S. § 15-511 is a personal fine of up to $5,000.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can the Governing Board adopt a resolution for the #RedforEd movement? (Rev. 4/27/18)

    Posted by:

    There is no express statutory authority granting a governing board authorization to adopt a resolution in support of a political movement. Board members can clearly exercise their first amendment rights on their own time. Any adoption of a political expression by a governing board invites scrutiny regarding the use of public resources. Particularly in light of the petitions pulled in support of an education funding initiative, our legal counsel has advised that a resolution regarding #RedforEd would be inadvisable and may violate A.R.S. § 15-511.

    Comments (-1)
  • During a school closure, may I take my laptop home and work and/or check email?

    Posted by:

    School closures are being identified as non-school, non-contractual days, similar to days such as Winter or Spring Break.  As with any other non-school day, certified staff may make a personal choice to use the day as they wish.  The laptop has been checked out to staff for the school year and they should be treated as they are for any other non-school, non-contractual day. You may either take the laptop assigned to you home, or you are free to leave the laptop secured in the school building.  

    Classified staff should refrain from working as they are not ‘on the clock’.

    Comments (-1)
  • During the school closure, will certified employees be compensated?

    Posted by:

    With the current one or two day school closure plan, certified employees should not see a difference in their paycheck due to the way that payroll is currently structured in the Kyrene District. Certified employees will be required to work additional days in their contracts to make up any school closure days. Due to necessary school closures, we anticipate that employees may experience a delay in their receipt of their balance of contract paycheck. More information about this will be available once the walk-out has ended.

    Comments (-1)
  • During the school closure, will less than 260-day ESP employees be compensated?

    Posted by:

    No, ESP employees, who work less than 260-days, are only compensated for actual hours worked.

    Comments (-1)
  • If previously approved, can less than 260-day employees use ACA/Personal time for school closure day

    Posted by:

    No, for all employees who work less than 260 days, regardless of their work location, the day becomes a non-paid day and will be made up at the end of their contract. Employees who work less than 260 days will not be using any sick or personal days now that schools will be officially closed. Payroll will soon be reversing any personal or sick days that were entered into the system to request time off.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees who work 260 days at the D.O. use ACA time to care for their children on closure days?

    Posted by:

    260-day employees may use ACA time in accordance with Meet and Confer language regarding use of ACA time.  Meet and Confer indicates ACA may be used for personal illness or injury, illness of a family member, religious observances, or for authorized personal reasons. An authorized personal reason is defined as personal business that cannot be conducted outside of the normal working hours of the employee or is not under the control of the employee (example – court proceedings, wedding, funeral, graduations, medical appointments, emergencies, fractional hours during holiday weeks, etc.). Personal business may not be used for continuing commitments such as student teaching, coursework, recreational purposes etc.  

    Comments (-1)
  • I work at the District Office. Can I send my kids to the Kids Club/Preschool camps for free?

    Posted by:

    Any employee who works at the District Office complex must pay to send their child to one of the Kids Club/Preschool camps unless they are being asked to work directly with students at one of the camp sites.

    Comments (-1)
  • If schools are closed, how will the District make up state mandated instructional days?...

    Posted by:

    The instructional days will be made up starting on May 25 and continue until all day(s) meet the 180 instructional day requirement mandated by the State of Arizona. Under Arizona law, and Kyrene Policy IC, schools shall provide 180 days of instruction (A.R.S. § 15-341.01) and a minimum number of instructional hours that varies based on grade level (A.R.S. § 15-901(A)(1)(b)(i)).

    Comments (-1)
  • Will Kyrene preschool programs be open if schools are closed due to a walk-out?

    Posted by:

    All programs conducted at Kyrene schools (preschool, after school care, breakfast and lunch programs) will be cancelled if schools are closed due to an employee walk-out.

    Comments (-1)
  • Will Preschool programming be extended to match the rest of the school calendar?

    Posted by:

    Yes. All Preschool programs (Community, Integrated, and Signature) will add any lost instructional days due to the walkout, to the end of the school year. Should families choose not to send their child to the added days, they may request a prorated refund via the Program Change Request form (www.kyrene.org/communityed).

    Comments (-1)
  • If schools close, is there an impact on any IEP meetings that are scheduled?

    Posted by:

    The ESS department is sharing information with casemanagers about IEPs through email.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will an extended school year impact employee retirement?

    Posted by:

    Resignation dates can be modified by the supervisor through a PAR and approved by the Board. Staff may also contact ASRS Member Services to discuss an extended school year and their planned  retirement date.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will an extended school year impact school employees who have a preplanned/prepaid vacation?

    Posted by:

    If additional contract days are added, employees will be expected to report to work. There are procedures to follow for such requests through the Meet and Confer language.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will extended year impact employees with previously submitted and Board approved resignations?

    Posted by:

    Resignation dates may be modified by the supervisor through a PAR and approved by the Board.

    Comments (-1)
  • What are policies for blackout days for certified employees in the event of extended school year?

    Posted by:

    The last two instructional days of the school year are blackout days, which require approval for absence (link to the language and the paperwork).

    If an extraordinary circumstance occurs and an employee requests to take a personal day on a blackout day, or requires more than two (2) consecutive personal days, s/he must submit the Request for Blackout Absence or More Than Two Consecutive Personal Days form to their principal or supervisor ten (10) business days prior to the restricted day. The employee may still submit a request when the ten (10) day notice is not possible. The employee will be docked the daily rate of pay with the possibility of future reimbursement, pending approval. PERSONAL REASONS: Employees are strongly encouraged to include as much detailed information as possible, as well as appropriate documentation, while providing an explanation of the extraordinary circumstance requiring your absence on the restricted day(s). This information will be forwarded to HR (MS #13) after principal approval or denial.

    Comments (-1)
  • What happens to my benefits in the event of a walk-out?

    Posted by:

    Unfortunately, it is not possible for the District to answer questions regarding individual benefits without more details due to the unique nature of each person’s situation. There are so many possible variables for each employee that it would be impossible to speculate an answer that would be the same for each person, or each circumstance. However, that being said, if nothing changes to impact benefits eligibility for an individual employee, then any benefit plans in place will remain in place to meet upcoming needs.

    Comments (-1)
  • If schools closed, what happens with employees who are on contract for less than 260 days? For 260?

    Posted by:

    • For all employees who have a contract for less than 260 days, regardless of their work location, the day becomes a non-paid day and will be made up at the end of their contract. • Employees who have a contract for 260 days and who do not report to work on a day that schools are closed, will be required to use vacation days for any absence time. It is expected that all administrators report to work.

    Comments (-1)
  • What support will the district offer to our families?

    Posted by:

    The district is not in support of a walk-out or any activity that disrupts instruction. Should a walk-out occur, the only way to ensure the safety and well-being of our students is to close our schools. We will notify families of the impending closure as early as possible and ask our parents to make alternate arrangements for their children.

    Comments (-1)
  • Now that the tournament is cancelled, will there be a refund for Capture the Flag?

    Posted by:

    No, a 25% credit will be emailed to families in the form of a promotion coupon. The credit may be used for any school year enrichment program (not Kids Club, After Hours or Preschool) and must be redeemed by December 31, 2018.

    Comments (-1)
  • Will refunds be given for Youth Enrichment classes or will they be rescheduled?

    Posted by:

    CES is trying to reschedule all classes but it is dependent upon teacher/vendor availability. In the event that a class cannot be rescheduled, a prorated refund will be issued.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will non-exempt staff be impacted if schools are closed due to a walk-out?...

    Posted by:

    If an instructional day is cancelled due to a walk-out, then that instructional day will be rescheduled and therefore the original date is not eligible for paid time-off benefits. Education support professionals (ESP) whose work calendar is closely tied to the instructional calendar (e.g. bus drivers, instructional assistants) will not report to work if schools are closed and will not be paid. All employees on a 260-day contract will be expected to report to work. Contracted employees (e.g. cafeteria workers, Smart Schools employees) will be subject to the requirements of their contract with the third-party provider as to whether they will be paid for days that schools are closed.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees use school resources to share information about the group/movement?

    Posted by:

    District resources may not be used to promote the #RedforEd campaign. Examples include, but are not limited to, copiers, paper, supplies, computers, email, phones. Regarding email, the best practice would be to gather individual personal email addresses to use to communicate information regarding #RedforEd activities. This can be done at a stand-up meeting across the street from the school, for example.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees take pictures of staff wearing red and post to their school Facebook page?

    Posted by:

    This issue is not directly addressed in statute. It invites some risk, as the direct endorsement by the school district via its Facebook page could be seen as attempting to influence the political activities of subordinate staff; therefore, teachers may post on their own social media on personal time.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can #RedforEd be promoted by our parent organizations? Post information/photos on social media?

    Posted by:

    Parent organizations are self-governed and are directed to follow the requirements of their by-laws, in consultation with their Executive Board and membership when it comes to advocacy. As long as their Facebook page is separate from the school’s platform, they may post information about #RedforEd. Parent organizations who have a 501(c)(3) status should be cautioned against violation of IRS policy regarding political activity conducted by a tax exempt, non-profit organization.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can #RedforEd supporters pass out flyers in the drop-off line?

    Posted by:

    Supporters of the #RedforEd movement should utilize personal or public spaces to distribute written materials. The District does not want to create a situation in which there is an argument that other groups should be permitted to distribute flyers directly to parents because it created a “limited public forum”. Also, because of the explicit prohibitions of distributing written materials to students in A.R.S. § 15-511, we advise against the distribution of any flyers. See Governing Board Policy KHC regarding flyer distribution for additional information.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees put signs in their cars?

    Posted by:

    Staff may place signage on their personal vehicles. This activity is not prohibited by A.R.S. § 15-511. However, a vehicle may not be permanently parked in the school’s parking lot displaying signs supporting #RedforEd when the owner is not visiting the school for school business or other permitted activities at the school.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees hold signs (political and nonpolitical) during drop-off/pick-up?

    Posted by:

    The District should prohibit this type of activity during pick-up or drop-off. It should also not allow other groups to picket or hold signs on its property. Note: This does not apply to public sidewalks or streets, as the District cannot control any first amendment activity on public property.

    Comments (-1)
  • Can employees ask the students to wear #RedforEd clothing?

    Posted by:

    The District should not allow its employees to ask students to wear red or join in the employee’s expression of first amendment activity. However, if a parent determines they would like their child to wear red in support of the movement, it would not be prohibited.

    Comments (-1)
  • What would happen if there were a sick-in?

    Posted by:

    Some school districts have specific policies that prevent employees from using sick time to advocate for a political activity. Districts will be limited under Proposition 206 from asking an employee for a physician’s note unless the employee has called in sick for three consecutive days. If a school district has evidence that an employee was not been truthful regarding calling in sick, the district could pursue discipline. If schools must be closed due to a staffing shortage, the District would be unable to pay hourly employees. The District would also likely have to look at extending the school year to meet the instructional time missed. The Goldwater Institute has issued an extensive public records request to one Arizona school district who recently was required to shut down some schools.

    Comments (-1)
  • If a walk-out is planned, what will the district do?

    Posted by:

    The Kyrene School District will be forced to close schools if employees walk out.

    Comments (-1)
  • What information can you share about not impeding adequate walking space for campus access?

    Posted by:

    Walk-in activities should not disrupt the instruction of students, nor the operation of schools, being careful not to interrupt the flow of students and families entering the school. Parents and students may voluntarily participate in #RedforEd activities that occur outside of the instructional day. However, staff should be sure not to request students to participate in the activities.

    Comments (-1)