The School Board of Polk County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the bylaws and policies of The School Board of Polk County were adopted on November 12, 2013 and were in effect beginning November 12, 2013.
 

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 staff 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).

Staff who are required to have a WCD as a condition of their employment may receive a monthly wireless communication allowance ("allowance"), up to an amount approved annually by the Board to compensate them for the costs associated with acquiring and utilizing a WCD for business purposes.

Amount of the Allowance

The allowance shall consist of a monthly allowance of up to a specific dollar amount for wireless telephone service and Internet/data connection.

The allowance is not intended to compensate the employee's dollar-for-dollar cost for wireless service.

The allowance 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, beginning no later than June 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.

In order to continue to receive the allowance, administrators are required to answer all business-related calls on his/her WCD and promptly respond to any messages. 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.

Allowance is Considered Taxable Income

Staff members who receive an allowance are not required to submit a log documenting their business-related use of the WCD; however, they will be informed that the allowance is considered additional compensation for income tax purposes (i.e. the allowance will be paid through the District's payroll system as taxable income and appropriate payroll taxes on the amount of the allowance will be withheld from the employee's paycheck, and the amount of the allowance paid during the calendar year will be included in the wages line on the staff members' year-end W-2 statements). For determination of individual taxability, employees should check with their tax advisor.

Employee's Responsibilities

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 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.

Employees may contact the District's IT Department/Support Staff for consultation on the type of equipment to purchase if they are obtaining Internet/data service in order to enable e-mail and calendar support through the District's servers (e.g. through Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise, etc.) and to obtain assistance in setting up their device to connect to the District's servers. The District's IT Department/Support Staff will assist employees who have Internet/data service with e-mail and calendar functionality.

Changing or Ending a Wireless Service Contract Early

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.

If prior to the end of a wireless service contract, the Board determines to reduce or cancel (unrelated to employee misconduct) the employee's monthly allowance, the Board will bear the cost of any fees associated with the change or cancellation. For example, if the employee is reassigned and/or his/her duties are changed, and the WCD is no longer needed for business purposes, if the employee does not want to retain the current contract, changes or cancellation fees will be reimbursed by the Board.

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 property. However, upon termination, nonrenewal or resignation, the Board will immediately discontinue the monthly allowance.

Safe Use of Wireless Communications Devices

Employee safety is a priority of the Board, and responsible use of WCDs includes safe use.

In accordance with Policy 8625 and subject to the definitions therein, employees shall not operate a District motor vehicle at any time, or a personal vehicle while driving to/from any location on school business, while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading messages on such a device for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, and snap chatting. Furthermore, an employee who violates this prohibition is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

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 should 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.

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.

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.

© Neola 2013