It is frustrating to learn that school directors in Shamokin have not yet implemented a policy to track outside work being done by school employees on district time.
We don’t know why the policy has not been put into place because district administrators and school members have been extremely selective in what questions from The Daily Item they respond to. They answered when we asked for enrollment figures but only after a Right to Know request. They did not respond to requests about the policy.
Earlier this year, board members Brian Persing, Melissa Hovenstine and Jeff Kashner noted in a statement they were aware district officials were conducting outside business — including work for the PIAA — during school time. The three directors said they were instructing District Business manager Karen Colangelo to create a new policy. The policy was to create a log for employees to sign in and out when doing non-district work.
In July, The Daily Item filed a Right to Know Request for a copy of the policy and the logs. Colangelo said the documents do not exist.
In March, Colangelo said the following: “The Shamokin Area school board recognizes that there are times when district employees are either contacted or need to perform PIAA business during the school day hours,” Colangelo said. “Moving forward, the district is establishing procedures through the business office that will track the PIAA time of such district employees. Submission of request for paid leave time will be required of these employees for those time periods involving PIAA activity.”
We understand the implementation of such a policy takes time to accomplish. The language needs to be worked out and the teachers’ union will have to be part of the process.
But it’s been six months since they said the policy would be put into place. If this was a priority, that seems like enough time to get the language right. Shamokin started its new school year on Tuesday and the start of a new year seems like a perfect time to begin any sort of new program that involves scheduling.
If officials are still working on the language, then someone should say so. If not, and the March comments were simply lip service to make the public think they were trying to fix something, then the public breach of trust is something district officials must address.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.