|Britton Deerfield School District|
|Bylaws & Policies|
7530.01 - WIRELESS COMMUNICATION ALLOWANCE AND STAFF USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES
Eligibility for Wireless Communication Allowance
Wireless communication devices ("WCDs") (i.e. cellular and wireless telephones, pager/beepers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), Blackberries/Smartphones, WiFi-enabled or broadband access devices, etc.) enable communication whenever a situation arises necessitating immediate contact, regardless of the person's location at the time. Therefore, the Superintendent and administrators who meet one or more of the following criteria are required as a condition of employment to own a WCD and obtain an appropriate service plan so that the WCD is available for use for business-related communications:
|A.||their jobs require them to spend a considerable amount of time outside of their assigned office or work area during normal working hours and have regular access to telephone and/or Internet connections while outside their office or assigned work area;|
|B.||their jobs require them to be accessible outside of scheduled or normal working hours or to be contacted and respond in the event of an emergency;|
|C.||their jobs consistently require timely and business critical two (2) way communication for which there is no reasonable alternative technology. (This is not intended to include occasional, incidental access or purely voluntary access such as checking e-mail from home); or|
|D.||safety requirements indicate having a WCD is an integral part of meeting the requirements of the employee's job description.|
Administrators who are required to have a personal WCD as a condition of their employment shall receive a monthly wireless communication allowance ("allowance"), up to an amount approved annually by the Board to reimburse them for the costs associated with maintaining and using a personal WCD for business purposes. Additionally, other staff members who believe that they meet the above-identified criteria may apply for an allowance.
Amount of the Allowance
The allowance shall consist of a monthly allowance up to a specific dollar amount for wireless telephone service (possibly including Internet/data service) and a one-time stipend to cover the employee's cost of acquiring the WCD.
The allowance shall not reimburse the employee’s dollar-for-dollar costs for the wireless service, and shall not exceed the expenses the employee actually incurs in maintaining the personal WCD.
The allowance shall not serve as a substitute for a portion of the staff member's regular wages, and does not constitute an increase to base pay, and will not be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay due to annual raises, job upgrades or benefits based on a percentage of salary, etc. The Board will pay only the Board-approved allowance even if actual monthly costs exceed the allowance. If the amount of the allowance needs to be changed because of documented business purpose, the employee should notify the Superintendent by submitting a new Wireless Communication Allowance Request Form.
No allowance will be paid when the employee is on an unpaid leave status, or is on an extended paid leave during which timely, business-essential communications are not likely to be necessary.
To be eligible to receive the allowance, the employee must maintain the type of wireless telephone coverage and Internet/data plan that is reasonably related to his/her job responsibilities. Beginning no later than September 1st annually, each covered administrator and staff member making application for the allowance, must submit to the Superintendent a Wireless Communication Allowance Request Form 7530.01 F1, including a copy of his/her most recent monthly invoices for his/her wireless service plan to substantiate the amount of the allowance and a document identifying the telephone number of his/her WCD (including any pin number associated with a Blackberry device) so that the employee may be contacted as the need arises. If the employee receives either a one-time equipment allowance or a part of his/her monthly allowance is attributable to the cost of acquiring the device, the employee must also include documentation of the cost of the WCD with the Form.
The employee must maintain an active wireless service contract while the allowance is being provided.
The Superintendent should use knowledge of each employee’s duties (e.g. the projected number of minutes of monthly business-related calls, and whether the employee requires Internet/data service) and budget considerations to determine the amount of monthly allowance to recommend to the Board for each employee. In determining the amount of the allowance to recommend to the Board, the Superintendent may take into consideration the cost of the basic equipment, whether Internet/data service is needed, and the cost of the employee's monthly wireless service plan.
In order to continue to receive the allowance, non-exempt employees are required to answer all business-related calls on his/her WCD and promptly respond to any messages during his/her work hours. Absent prior authorization from or a message coming from his/her supervisor, calls received outside work hours should not be addressed until the employee's next scheduled work day.
Allowance Is Not Considered Taxable Income
Provided the employee maintains and uses his/her personal WCD for business purposes as described herein, the allowance should not be considered additional income to the employee (i.e., the allowance will be treated as a non-payroll reimbursement of a business expense – similar to the mileage reimbursements – and no payroll taxes will be withheld from the employee’s paycheck for the amount of the allowance and the amount of the allowance will not be reported as wages the employee’s year-end W-2 statement). Additionally, staff members who receive an allowance are not required to submit a log documenting their business-related use of the WCD.
The employee is responsible for choosing his/her WCD, the voice and/or data plan, and the wireless service provider. Since the WCD is the personal property of the employee, the WCD may be used for personal calls (see below concerning the making of personal calls during work time) and be combined or enhanced with other personal plans (i.e. the employee may also, at his/her own expense, add extra services or equipment features, as desired). The employee is responsible for paying all monthly service charges in full and on time. The Board does not accept any liability for claims, charges, or disputes between the service provider and the staff member. Because the employee is personally responsible for the WCD, any replacement for loss or damage will be at the expense of the employee. Such replacement or repair must be completed promptly and the Superintendent must be notified if the employee will not be available by their WCD for a period of time.
Employees should contact the carrier through which they purchased their WCD and purchase their wireless service for support.
Changing or Ending a Wireless Service Contract Early
When selecting the duration of his/her wireless service contract, the employee should take into consideration the length of his/her Board-approved employment contract and not select a duration of the wireless service contract that exceeds the employment contract. If the employee is nonrenewed or voluntarily resigns while the wireless service contract is still in effect, the Board will not be responsible for any fees associated with the employee's decision to subsequently change or cancel the contract.
Once the allowance is given to the employee to purchase a device, the WCD remains the employee's personal property. However, upon termination, nonrenewal or resignation, the Board will immediately discontinue the monthly allowance.
If prior to the end of a wireless service contract, a personal decision by the employee results in the need to end or change the WCD contract, the employee will bear the costs of any fees associated with the change or cancellation.
If prior to the end of a wireless service contract, the employee's misconduct, or misuse of the WCD, results in the need to end or change the WCD contract, the employee will bear the costs of any fees associated with the change or cancellation.
Safe Use of Wireless Communications Devices
Employee safety is a priority of the Board, and responsible use of WCDs includes safe use.
Using a WCD while operating a vehicle is strongly discouraged. Employees should plan their work accordingly so that calls are placed, text messages/instant messages/e-mails read and/or sent, and/or the Internet browsed either prior to traveling or while on rest breaks. In the interest of safety for both Board employees and other drivers, employees are required to comply with all applicable laws while driving (including any laws that prohibit texting with the WCD or using the WCD in its entirety while driving).
Duty to Maintain Confidentiality of Student Personally Identifiable Information - Public and Student Record Requirements
Employees are subject to all applicable policies and guidelines pertaining to protection of the security, integrity and availability of the data stored on their WCDs.
Wireless communications, including calls, text messages, instant messages, and e-mails sent from WCDs, may not be secure. Therefore, employees should use discretion in relaying confidential information, particularly as it relates to students.
Additionally, wireless communications, including text messages, instant messages and e-mails sent and/or received by a public employee or school official using his/her personal WCD may constitute public records if the content of the message concerns District business, or an education record if the content includes personally identifiable information about a student. Wireless communications that are public records are subject to retention and disclosure, upon request, in accordance with Policy 8310 – Public Records. Wireless communications that are student records are confidential and must be maintained pursuant to Policy 8330 – Students Records. Finally, wireless communications and other electronically stored information (ESI) stored on the staff member's personal WCD may be subject to a Litigation Hold pursuant to Policy 8315 – Information Management. Staff are required to comply with District requests to produce copies of wireless communications in their possession that are either public records or education records, or that constitute ESI that is subject to a Litigation Hold.
Except in emergency situations, employees are prohibited from using WCDs to capture, record or transmit the words (i.e. audio) and/or images (i.e. pictures/video) of any student, staff member or other person in the school or while attending a school-related activity, without express prior notice and explicit consent for the capture, recording or transmission of such words or images. Using a WCD to take or transmit audio and/or pictures/video of an individual without his/her consent is considered an invasion of privacy and is not permitted, unless authorized by the building principal or Superintendent.
The use of WCDs that contain built-in cameras (i.e. devices that take still or motion pictures, whether in a digital or other format) is prohibited in locker rooms, classrooms, bathrooms and/or swimming pool.
Personal Use of WCDs While at Work
Board employees may carry personal WCDs with them while at work including while operating Board equipment, but are subject to the following restrictions:
|A.||Excessive use of a WCD for personal business during work hours is considered outside the employee's scope of employment and may result in disciplinary action.|
|B.||Employees are personally and solely responsible for the care and security of their personal WCDs. The Board assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to WCDs brought onto its property, or the unauthorized use of such devices.|
At no time may any WCD be utilized by an employee in a way that might reasonably create in the mind of another person an impression of being threatened, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed or intimidated or in any manner that violates a reasonable expectation of privacy of another.
Potential Disciplinary Action/Termination of the Allowance
Violation of this policy may constitute just cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination. Use of a WCD in any manner contrary to local, State or Federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the allowance as well as possible disciplinary action.
Employee Use of Board-Owned WCDs
The Board reserves the right to switch an employee to the allowance program if excessive calls are made or if required documentation is not submitted in a timely manner.
© Neola 2012