Whether teachers are paid their full salary during two-hour delays and the policy on dealing with students who make terroristic threats were two hot-button issues discussed at the Jan. 18 Crestwood School Board meeting.
Crestwood teachers who stay home, as students do, when a two-hour delay is called for bad weather are abusing the system, according to School Board President William Jones, and they should either drive to work on time or be docked pay for the hours they miss.
Every two-hour delay costs the district $25,000, Jones went on, as the teachers are being paid but not working. “Sooner or later the state has to wise up to this and help the taxpayers out,” he said, adding that he would like to see the board vote on making the teachers accountable for missed hours, at a future meeting.
Many in the audience audibly gasped and groaned as Jones spoke and some teachers murmured about the night and weekend hours they work for free. Appalled that teachers were being asked to drive in dangerous weather conditions, resident Amanda Modrovsky asked Jones, “How can you put a price on someone’s life?”
“Do I drive to work every day? Yes, and I can get killed,” Jones replied. Most businesses pay employees for time worked and, if an employee shows up late, he is not paid for the time he missed, Jones said. Anyone can be hurt or killed driving in bad weather, he added.
“That’s disgusting,” Modrovsky responded. And, after more back-and-forth with Jones, added, “You’re being antagonistic. God help you if you change that policy and something happens.”
Board member Barry Boone, a former teacher, stated that, when he worked in private industry, if employees couldn’t get to work on time because of bad weather, they were still paid the full amount for the day. Another audience member, who said she works as a nurse in a hospital, related that she must show up on time or her pay is docked, adding that she agrees with Jones.
Threat response Earlier in the meeting, Modrovsky
suggested to the board about the creation of a preventative program so that another terroristic threat is not made at any of Crestwood’s schools. On Jan. 10, a boy in eighth grade threatened to bring a gun to school and, the next day, a female student caused a panic about the incident by statements she made on social media. Police were involved and both students received 10 days of suspension.
While she appreciated the district informing parents of the situation via email, Modrovsky said this is not the first time threats have been made at the school. “I don’t understand why we have had more than one incident like this happen and it’s not being addressed on a longitudinal basis,” she stated.
She offered to head a PTA or other school-related committee to provide students with information to prevent further incidents. “These things can result in deadly consequences,” Modrovsky said. “You can’t keep wiping your brow and saying, ‘Thank God nothing happened this time.’”
Superintendent Joseph Gorham replied that, after the Jan. 10 incident, the district had begun conversations with the district attorney to create a prevention program, including ways to inform students about inappropriate uses of social media. Adults played a role in spreading panic and misinformation relating to that incident on social media, he said. The district waits to release details to parents until it is sure the