Polk County Public Schools Employee Handbook

Polk County Public Schools Employee Handbook
Kathryn M. LeRoy
Superintendent of Schools
Employee Handbook &
Benefits Information
The mission of Polk County Public Schools is to provide a
high quality education for all students.
The information provided in the Employee Handbook and Benefits Information is intended to advise employees of Polk County Public Schools of the various policies, procedures, benefits and services available to them. This Handbook is neither an employment contract nor a guarantee of any rights, benefits or entitlement to the same.
Board Approved: August 11, 2015
Section 1-Opening
The School Board of Polk County
Polk County Strategic Plan
Education Standards Commission
Nondiscrimination Statement
Workplace Harassment of Employees
10 Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA)
11 Drug Free Workplace
12 Additional District References
Section 2-Policies & Procedures
13 Arrests
13 Attendance & Promptness
13 Certification
15 Change of Address
15 Conflict of Interest
15 Courier Mail
16 Dress Code
16 Electronic Mail
16 Employee Assistance Program
17 Evaluations
18 Injury/Illness in Line of Duty
18 Leave of Absence
19 Money Collection
20 Operation of School Board Vehicles
20 Personnel Records
21 Reassignments
21 Recycling/Energy Conservation
21 Resignations
21 Retirement
23 Sick Leave Bank
24 Suspensions/Dismissals
25 Technology Acceptable Use Policy
25 Telephone Usage
25 Temporary Duty Leave
25 Tobacco-Free Environment
25 Toxic Substances at Work
25 Transfers
26 Unpaid Leave/Employee Benefits
26 Use of School Board Property
26 Vacancies/Promotion Procedures
26 Volunteers
27 Weapons/Firearms
27 Workers’ Compensation
Section 3-Payroll Services
29 Payroll Information
29 Additional Work
31 Holdback
33 Termination-Pay-Up of Holdback and
Unused Leave
34 New Hires First Paycheck
35 Sick/Vacation Leave
36 Payroll Deductions
37 Contacts for Miscellaneous Deductions
Section 4-Risk Management
38 Employee Benefits Plans
38 Eligibility for Employee Benefits
39 Health Insurance Benefits
39 Health Clinic
39 Dental Insurance
39 Vision Insurance
39 Section 125
40 Life Insurance
40 Dependent Life Insurance
40 Short Term Disability Insurance
40 Long Term Disability Insurance
41 Flexible Spending Account
41 Benefits Continuation (COBRA)
41 Employee Assistance Program
42 Questions
Section 5-Employee Policies &
Procedures for Students
43 Bullying
43 Child Abuse Reporting
44 Code of Student Conduct
44 Compulsory School Attendance
44 Critical Issues
44 Home Education
45 Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports
45 Psychotropic Medication Administration
46 Student Threats of Harm to Others
46 Youth Suicide
47 Adults in Crisis
49 Indicators of Child Abuse and Neglect
Section 1
The School Board of Polk County
Polk County Strategic Plan
Education Standards Commission
Discrimination Policy Statement
Workplace Harassment of Employees
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Drug Free Workplace
Additional District References
Welcome to Polk County Public Schools
It is our pleasure to welcome you to the public school system in Polk County. As
you may already know, we are among the nation’s 40 largest school districts and
serve a rapidly growing student population. We believe that we are successful every
day that we can offer our students the fullest opportunities to learn and experience.
This includes everything from appropriate and rigorous curriculum, to clean and
sanitary facilities, to timely and efficient transportation.
We value every member of our team for the vital roles they play in this process and
recognize that a collective effort is essential to our success. You will experience
from those around you, the team attitude, and hard work that motivate us toward
better educational opportunities for our students. It is our hope that your efforts as
a member of this team will effectively and efficiently contribute to the mission.
As a school board employee it is important that you become acquainted with the
policies, procedures, and benefits that contribute to our success, much of which is
contained within this manual. Please read through it, and again we wish you much
success in the Polk County Public School system.
The School Board of Polk County
All polices, collective bargaining agreements, board member and board meeting
information for the Polk County School District is available for review at
This handbook is intended as an overview of District policies and procedures. It is
not a contract and is not intended to be. In the event an actual or perceived
conflict arises between the language contained in it and the terms and conditions
of employment set forth in the respective collective bargaining agreement(s), the
language in the bargaining agreement shall prevail.
2013-14 through 2016-17
Mission Statement:
The mission of Polk County Public Schools is to provide a high quality education for all students.
Every Polk student will be prepared for success in college or career after graduation.
Polk County School Board Core Values
Collaboration, Teamwork and Accountability
· We will work as a team to ensure student graduation basing all decisions on relevant and
accurate information.
Ethics, Integrity, Commitment and Dedication
· We will hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards, acting with honesty and integrity,
dedicated to exemplary work.
· We will model servant leadership that inspires trust and loyalty, embraces equity, builds
confidence and responds to the needs of others.
Safe and Orderly
· We will maintain a safe and orderly environment, with everyone on task at all times.
Dignity and Respect
· We will ensure a positive work environment in which all people are treated with dignity
and respect.
Learning, Improvement, High Quality and Excellence
· We will foster a culture of continuous learning and personal development for all,
recognizing and celebrating excellence, achievement, creativity and diversity.
Polk County School Board Strategic Plan
A – Student Achievement
A.1 To prepare all students to meet or exceed appropriate grade level proficiency preparing them
to be College and Career Ready (CCR).
• Literacy (reading and writing)
• Mathematics
• Science
B – Stakeholder Partnerships
B.1 Establish continuous and effective communications with all internal and external
B.2 Increase parent/family involvement opportunities.
B.3 Enhance and strengthen school and district level partnerships
C– Safe and Secure Environment
C.1 Integrate best practices that encourage positive behavior, develop respect towards others and
ensure safe environments throughout the school district.
• Office referrals.
• Relevant sections of parent, student and teacher climate survey results.
• Anti-bullying documentation such as sign-in sheets, pledges, and acknowledgements
D – Staff Learning and Growth
D.1 To recruit qualified instructional personnel that reflects the diversity of the school, district,
and community.
D.2 To retain qualified and valuable instructional personnel through support and quality
professional learning.
D.3 To prepare teachers, and administrators to be highly effective through quality professional
E – Support and Resources
E.1 To ensure clean, well maintained, functional facilities.
E.2 To provide safe, efficient and quality transportation services to all eligible students.
E.3 To provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff.
E.4 Deploy Information Technology that supports the academic and business needs of students,
teachers and staff.
E.5 To ensure the highest level of fiscal responsibility and integrity.
E.6 To provide financial support to stakeholders (schools and departments).
The Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and the Principles of
Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida
6A-10.080 Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida
1. The educator values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion
to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship.
Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and
the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
2. The educator's primary professional concern will always be for the student and for the
development of the student's potential. The educator will therefore strive for professional
growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
3. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of one's colleagues,
of students, of parents, and of other members of the community, the educator strives to
achieve and sustain the highest degree of ethical conduct.
Rulemaking Authority 1001.02, 1012.51, 1012.53 FS. Law Implemented 1012.32, 1012.34, 1012.51, 1012.53,
1012.795, 1012.796 FS. History-New 3-24-65, Amended 8-9-69, Repromulgated 12-5-74, Amended 8-12-81, 7-682, Formerly 6B-1.01, 6B-1.001.
6A-10.081 Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education in Florida
1. The following disciplinary rule shall constitute the Principles of Professional Conduct for
the Education Profession in Florida.
2. Violation of any of these principles shall subject the individual to revocation or
suspension of the individual educator's certificate, or the other penalties as provided by
3. Obligation to the student requires that the individual:
a. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to
learning and/or to the student's mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
b. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of
c. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
d. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student's
academic program.
e. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or
f. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights.
g. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color,
religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status,
handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and
shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from
harassment or discrimination.
h. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
i. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the
course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is
required by law.
4. Obligation to the public requires that the individual:
a. Shall take reasonable precautions to distinguish between personal views and those
of any educational institution or organization with which the individual is
b. Shall not intentionally distort or misrepresent facts concerning an educational
matter in direct or indirect public expression.
c. Shall not use institutional privileges for personal gain or advantage.
d. Shall accept no gratuity, gift, or favor that might influence professional judgment.
e. Shall offer no gratuity, gift, or favor to obtain special advantages.
5. Obligation to the profession of education requires that the individual:
a. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
b. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin,
political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or
social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or
advantages or participation in any professional organization.
c. Shall not interfere with a colleague's exercise of political or civil rights and
d. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably
interferes with an individual's performance of professional or work
responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a
hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further,
shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such
harassment or discrimination.
e. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.
f. Shall not use coercive means or promise special treatment to influence
professional judgments of colleagues.
g. Shall not misrepresent one's own professional qualifications.
h. Shall not submit fraudulent information on any document in connection with
professional activities.
i. Shall not make any fraudulent statement or fail to disclose a material fact in one's
own or another's application for a professional position.
j. Shall not withhold information regarding a position from an applicant or
misrepresent an assignment or conditions of employment.
k. Shall provide upon the request of the certificated individual a written statement of
specific reason for recommendations that lead to the denial of increments,
significant changes in employment, or termination of employment.
l. Shall not assist entry into or continuance in the profession of any person known to
be unqualified in accordance with these Principles of Professional Conduct for the
Education Profession in Florida and other applicable Florida Statutes and State
Board of Education Rules.
m. Shall self-report within forty-eight (48) hours to appropriate authorities (as
determined by district) any arrests/charges involving the abuse of a child or the
sale and/or possession of a controlled substance. Such notice shall not be
considered an admission of guilt nor shall such notice be admissible for any
purpose in any proceeding, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial,
investigatory or adjudicatory. In addition, shall self-report any conviction, finding
of guilt, withholding of adjudication, commitment to a pretrial diversion program,
or entering of a plea of guilty or Nolo Contendre for any criminal offense other
than a minor traffic violation within forty-eight (48) hours after the final
judgment. When handling sealed and expunged records disclosed under this rule,
school districts shall comply with the confidentiality provisions of Sections
943.0585(4)(c) and 943.059(4)(c), Florida Statutes.
n. Shall report to appropriate authorities any known allegation of a violation of the
Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined in Section
1012.795(1), Florida Statutes.
o. Shall seek no reprisal against any individual who has reported any allegation of a
violation of the Florida School Code or State Board of Education Rules as defined
in Section1012.795(1), Florida Statutes.
p. Shall comply with the conditions of an order of the Education Practices
q. Shall, as the supervising administrator, cooperate with the Education Practices
Commission in monitoring the probation of a subordinate.
Rulemaking Authority 1001.02, 1012.51, 1012.53 FS. Law Implemented 1012.32, 1012.34, 1012.51, 1012.53,
1012.795, 1012.796 FS. History-New 7-6-82, Amended 12-20-83, Formerly 6B-1.06, Amended 8-10-92, 12-29-98,
Formerly 6B-1.006.
No employee, student, or applicant for admission or applicant for employment shall on the basis
of race, color, national origin, sex, language spoken, homelessness, disability, genetic information,
marital status, age, religion, or any other basis prohibited by law be excluded from participation
in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational programs,
activities, services, or in any employment conditions, policies or practices, conducted by the Polk
County Public School System.
To view the full text of this policy please visit the Polk County School Board website www.polkfl.net keyword: Board Policy
The School Board of Polk County forbids the discrimination against any employee, applicant for
employment, or student on the basis of sex or race. The Board will not tolerate sexual/racial
harassment activity by any of its employees. This policy also applies to non-employee volunteers
who work subject to the control of school authorities.
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcomed sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other
inappropriate verbal, nonverbal, graphic, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
· submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition
of employment or of an individual’s education.
· submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an
employment or academic decision affecting that individual; or
· such conduct substantially interferes with an employee’s work performance or student’s
academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school
Sexual harassment, as defined above, may include but is not limited to the following:
· verbal, nonverbal, graphic, and written harassment or abuse;
· pressure for sexual activity;
· repeated remarks to a person with sexual or demeaning implications;
· unwelcome or inappropriate touching;
· suggesting or demanding sexual involvement accompanied by implied or explicit threats
concerning one’s employment.
Racial harassment consists of verbal, nonverbal, graphic, written, or physical conduct that
denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward any employee based upon race when such conduct
has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or
when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work
performance or employment opportunities.
Racial harassment as defined above may include but is not limited to the following conduct which
is based upon race:
· epithets and slurs;
written or graphic material that shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group;
negative stereotyping;
threatening, intimidating or hostile acts.
Disability harassment is oral, written, graphic or physical conduct or any act as relating to an
individual’s disability that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to limit or interfere
with the ability of the individual to participate in or benefit from district programs or activities;
harassment that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s performance or
creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or school environment.
Examples of disability harassment include, but are not limited to conduct directed at the
characteristics of a person’s disabling condition such as:
· imitating manner of speech;
· interfering with necessary equipment;
· negative stereotyping;
· threatening, intimidating or hostile acts;
· written or graphic material that shows aversion or hostility towards an individual or group
with disabling attitudes.
It is sexual harassment for a school board employee or non-employee volunteer to use his or her
authority to solicit sexual favors or attention from subordinates or students, including but not
limited to incidents when the subordinate’s or student’s failure to submit will result in adverse
treatment, or when the subordinate’s or student’s acquiescence will result in preferential treatment.
It is racial harassment for a school board employee or non-employee volunteer to create or be
responsible for a racially hostile environment i.e., harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe,
pervasive, or persistent so far as to interfere with or limit the ability of an employee or student to
participate in or benefit from services, activities, or privileges provided by the District. It is
disability harassment when a School Board employee, non-employee volunteer or student seeks to
involve a student or employee with a disability in antisocial, dangerous or criminal activity where
the student or employee because of a disability, is unable to comprehend fully or consent to the
Any person who alleges sexual/racial harassment by any staff member may use the Education
Equity Complaint/Grievance procedure or may complain directly to his/her supervisor or the
Office of Equity & Compliance. If the direct administrator or supervisor is the offending person,
the report should be made to the next higher level of administration or supervision or the Office of
Equity & Compliance. Filing of a complaint or otherwise reporting sexual/racial harassment will
not affect the individual’s status, future employment, future promotion, extracurricular activities
or work assignments. Retaliation against an individual for good faith reporting of harassment will
not be tolerated and will itself be subject to appropriate discipline.
The right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and of the accused, will be respected,
consistent with the Board’s legal obligations, and with the necessity to investigate allegations of
misconduct and take corrective action when this conduct has occurred.
In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual/racial harassment, the totality of the
circumstances, the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred
will be investigated. The Superintendent or designee has the responsibility of investigating and
resolving complaints of sexual/racial harassment.
A substantiated charge against a School Board employee shall subject such employee to
disciplinary action, including but not limited to warning, reprimand, suspension, or termination,
subject to applicable procedural requirements.
Any employee, applicant for employment, student, or applicant for admission who believes he/she
has been discriminated against or harassed is encouraged to use the District’s established complaint
procedures or directly contact his/her supervisor or building principal or the Office of Equity and
Compliance at:
Carol Wynn-Green, Analyst
Equity & Compliance
Human Resource Services
1915 South Floral Avenue
Bartow, FL 33830
Telephone: 863-534-0513
FAX: 863-534-0737
Email:[email protected]
(Note: The term “racial harassment” in this policy refers to all forms of discrimination prohibited
by Title VI-race, color, and national origin.)
See School Board Policy 1362, 3362, 4362, 1362.02, 3362.02, 4362.012
Federal Law - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
Purpose - Health Insurance Reform
Provides Portability for Employees and their families when they change or lose their jobs
Provides Security and Privacy for Health Data
Provides Criminal & Civil Penalties for Violations
To the extent required by law, the School Board of Polk County, Florida, will comply with HIPAA.
PHI is confidential health information that contains student or employee “identifiers” in any form: electronic, paperbased or oral.
Individually Identifiable Health Information (IIHI) is information about the physical or mental health of an individual
that identifies or can reasonably identify the individual, i.e. name, social security number, date of birth, etc.
PHI shall not be shared or discussed with persons not having appropriate authority to receive confidential information
either at work or away from work.
Employee records and information that include PHI are confidential.
Student records and information that include PHI are confidential.
Student records and information are confidential and are covered by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act (FERPA).
If in doubt, do not discuss or distribute any PHI or confidential student records and information
to third parties. Ask your supervisor before making any decisions to discuss or disclose sensitive information.
· Notice of Privacy Practices
· Right to Restrict Use and Disclosure of PHI
· Right of Access / Right to Inspect and Copy your PHI
· Right to Amend PHI
· Right to file Complaints with the School Board of Polk County, Florida and/or the Secretary of the
Health and Human Services
Department of
Penalties for disclosure may include fines of $50,000 - $250,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Penalties for noncompliance may include fines up to $1,000 per occurrence: maximum fines up
to $25,000 per year.
Violations may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
In addition, violations may be prosecuted under state and/or federal law.
In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the School Board of Polk County
publishes an annual statement notifying employees that unlawful possession, use, or distribution
of illicit drugs and alcohol by employees is prohibited. This includes any school-related activities
away from or on School Board premises.
To facilitate enforcement of the Policy, following an offer of employment by the School Board of
Polk County, all job applicants will be required to take and pass a drug test. Current employees
will be tested for drugs and/or alcohol for any of the following: 1) reasonable suspicion/cause; 2)
post-accident/injury- all employees involved in any way, in any accident whether bodily injury has
occurred or not will be tested; 3) random testing for employees under the Federal Department of
Transportation of Drug-Free Workplace Program; 4) follow up after an employee returns from a
drug treatment or counseling program; and 5) as part of a routine fitness of duty examination if
required by the School Board of Polk County. Refusal to submit to testing upon request, for any
of the reasons authorized, shall subject the employee to the same disciplinary consequences as
would result from a positive test result including termination for cause, denial of Unemployment,
denial of Worker’s Compensation, and medical and indemnity benefits.
Any employee violating the policy shall be immediately suspended by the Superintendent of
Schools, and the Superintendent is hereby directed to report any violation to the School Board for
further action, which could result in termination of employment.
Failure by any School Board employee to report a known violation of this policy will constitute
an act of insubordination and willful neglect of duty. Employees need to be aware that compliance
with the School Board Policy is mandatory, and violators will be referred for prosecution.
Employee Assistance Programs are available by contacting the Employee Relations Office at (863)
See School Board Policy 3124
In addition to this Employee Handbook, four excellent reference sources are:
School Board Policies
School/Department Handbooks
Vacancy Postings/Website
Collective Bargaining Agreements
School Board Policies
Information about our district and school board policies can be accessed from our website at:
www.polk-fl.net keyword: Board Policy.
School/Department Handbooks
Many district departments produce an excellent and informative handbook pertaining to the
services and procedures applicable to their departments. Schools produce the handbooks/handouts
specific to the campus and population of the individual school. These handbooks are a great source
for specific policies and procedures, available instructional materials, and campus “whereabouts.”
It is important to note that all policies and procedures in school/department handbooks must align
with applicable statutory requirements, school board policy and collective bargaining agreements.
Collective Bargaining Unit Agreements
For information specific to your own position, refer to your respective Official Bargaining Unit
Agreement. A copy of each Agreement is available for perusal at each school/department or the
website at www.polk-fl.net. The Agreements are very detailed regarding the procedures and
provisions applicable to your position within the District. Three Agreements exist with the Polk
County Public Schools System:
PEA - Polk Education Association - Represents teachers, paraeducators, and educational
support personnel (clerical).
AFSCME Local 2227 - Represents maintenance, warehouse vehicle services, warehouse,
EERS and foodservice.
AFSCME Council 79 - Represents bus drivers and bus attendants.
Section 2
Policies and Procedures
Change of Address
Conflict of Interest
Courier Mail
Dress Code
Electronic Mail
Employee Assistance Program
Injury/Illness in the Line of Duty
Leave of Absence
Money Collection
Operation/School Board Vehicles
Personnel Records
Recycling/Energy Conservation
Sick Leave Bank
Technology Acceptable Use Policy
Telephone Usage
Temporary Duty Leave
Tobacco Free Environment
Toxic Substances at Work
Unpaid Leave/Employee Benefits
Use of School Board Property
Vacancies/Promotion Procedures
Workers’ Compensation
Any employee, who is arrested or charged with any crime, including driving under the influence
of alcohol or controlled substances, must notify his or her department director or principal of the
alleged charges/allegations.
Instructional personnel must self-report within 48 hours to
appropriate authorities (determined by the district) any arrest/charges involving the abuse of a
child or the sale and/or possession of a controlled substance. Failure to self-report may result in
disciplinary action. Directors/Principals will immediately report such employee arrest information
to the Director of Safe Schools, Support Services as well as the Senior Director of Human Resource
See School Board Policy 1139 and 3139
Because we serve the public, getting to work on time and being present every day is most
important. The public expects and has a right to demand prompt and efficient service. If you must
be absent, it is your responsibility to notify your principal or supervisor at once. This allows
him/her to reassign your work and maintain a high standard of service. Excessive absenteeism
may be grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal. We cannot operate as effectively when an
employee is absent. In addition, please follow the procedures set forth in your department,
division, etc.
See School Board Policy 5200
The state Certification Office processes applications for initial certification, certain add-ons, and
all other services for non-employees. The District Certification Office processes renewals, certain
add-ons, name changes, and duplicate certificates for district employees. The district’s multipurpose form is on the Intranet in Public Folders under Human Resource Services, Forms. The
state Certification Office approves all coursework for certification purposes. Teachers must call
the toll free number 1-800-445-6739 with the following information: the name of the institution;
the course prefix, number and title; and the certification requirement they are attempting to satisfy
by completing the course. This line is extremely busy during registration periods, so be sure to
plan ahead. Also, you can e-mail the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) at
[email protected] Please include your name and social security number in your e-mail.
You may access the FLDOE website, http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/, for the following services:
Certification Lookup, Application Status Lookup, and Request Materials. If you click on
Application Status Lookup, you will be prompted to create a Login I.D. and Password. Once you
are on this site, you will be able to access the following information about your certification file:
the status/progress of your valid application and Statement of Status of Eligibility; a record of any
valid Florida educator’s certificate that you hold; and the official transcripts, score report and
information received from the district within the last calendar year.
Teachers who hold three-year non-renewable temporary certificates must follow their Statement
of Status of Eligibility. This document is an individualized listing of all the deficiencies that you
must satisfy in order to be issued a Professional Certificate. State law requires that you submit a
passing score on all sections of the General Knowledge exam within the first twelve months of
employment. However, our District requires this to be completed by April 1st of the school year
hired. Passing scores earned on the CLAST prior to 7/1/02 are acceptable if the Statement of
Status of Eligibility is issued prior to 7/1/14. If the Statement of Status of Eligibility is issued after
7/1/14, the CLAST is no longer acceptable. If your Statement of Status of Eligibility reflects that
you have specific testing requirements to meet, you must register for the exams at
www.fl.nesinc.com. For more information about the requirements listed on your Statement of
For reappointment purposes, all of the deficiencies outlined on your Statement of Status of
Eligibility with exception of the General Knowledge, must be completed and documented with the
district Certification office no later than April 1st of the year of expiration of your temporary
certificate. As a courtesy to our teachers, the District Certification Office sends reminder notices
to teachers on temporary certificates throughout the validity period of the certificate.
Teachers who hold five-year Professional certificates must renew their certificates every five
years. During the validity period of this certificate, you are required to earn either 120 in-service
points to include 20 in-service points in teaching Students with Disabilities (SWD) or six semester
hours of college credit to include one semester hour in teaching Students with Disabilities (SWD).
Information pertaining to renewal requirements is available on the FLDOE website:
http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/renew.asp. The earliest that the District Certification Office will
accept your application for renewal is January 1st of the year before your professional certificate
As a courtesy to our teachers, the District Certification Office notifies teachers of expiring
professional certificates and provides them with the application for renewal. Notification of
expiring professional certificates is sent in January of the year before your professional certificate
If you are teaching out-of-field, proof of six semester hours in an authorized area, or the equivalent
of coursework earned, or a passing score on the appropriate subject area exam and add-on
application, must be submitted to the District Certification Office or the Florida Department of
Education (depending on the type of certificate held) by your anniversary date each year.
When you earn a higher degree from an accredited institution, you must submit an official
transcript with the higher degree conferred to the District Certification Office in the Human
Resource Services Division. If your degree major matches an area of certification on your
certificate, a pay change can be effected as soon as official transcripts are received and
processed, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, by the Human Resource Services Division.
The PCSB accepts all diplomas and degrees from sources accredited or approved by the Florida
Department of Education, including foreign institutions. In other words, the Florida DOE
requires the PCSB to reject any fraudulent or questionable diploma or degree from a disreputable
source. Tendering a worthless diploma or degree constitutes just cause for termination for
violating the Principles of Professional Conduct.
Current employees who need to report a change of address may do go by accessing the Polk
County School Board website at polk-fl.net. Login to Staff Portal and follow the prompts for
change of address.
Non-school Board employee address changes must be requested in writing. Requests may be sent
to: School Board of Polk County, Human Resource Services P. O. Box 391, Bartow, Florida
33831. The request must include employee’s name, SAP number, old address/phone number and
new address/phone number and a signature authorizing this change. Name changes must be
reflected on your Social Security Card and a copy of your new card must be sent to your
Personnel Assistant in the Human Resource Services Division.
Any School Board employee who also works for an organization doing business with the School
Board must reveal such a contractual agreement, in writing, to the Superintendent. The
Superintendent may approve such an arrangement; however, if the Superintendent determines the
relationship to be a conflict of interest, he/she will request that the employee terminate his/her
employment with either the organization or the School Board.
See School Board Policy 1131, 3129 and 4129
Interdepartmental mail is delivered to school district related facilities via the courier service. The
couriers handle both district and U.S. mail. It is important to note that the courier service provided
by the district is intended for business related mail only, and employees should not use the courier
to send mail or packages of a personal nature.
Please adhere to the following tips when using the courier service:
· Envelopes or packages should be clearly marked with the recipient’s name, work location,
and Courier Route designation along with the sender’s name and work location. Please
refrain from using abbreviations. Packages or envelopes not clearly marked cannot be
· When mailing large numbers of letters via U.S. mail, the sender should contact
the courier office to determine whether or not bulk-mailing rates are appropriate.
· When using overnight services (FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service), please
evaluate the necessity of using overnight air express. Sending a package or letter
overnight air express to cities in Florida typically is not necessary and is very
expensive. Letters and packages can be delivered via overnight ground
transportation at a significantly lower cost.
· Packages in excess of 20 pounds cannot be delivered by the courier service.
· Couriers cannot wait at stops for mail to be processed. The outgoing mail must
be in the designated location prior to the courier’s arrival.
Courier routes are published annually and are provided at the beginning of each
school year. Routes can also be accessed via the Polk County Public Schools
Intranet under Support Services.
For additional information or assistance, call the Courier office at
(863) 534-0702 or 51500.
Our district has a strong emphasis on uniforms and dress codes for our students. All employees
can help by modeling good choices through appropriate and professional attire. Neatness and
cleanliness are also important. Teachers are role models for students. Each teacher shall maintain
a neat, professional appearance appropriate for his/her specific teaching assignment. Uniform
shirts will be provided and shall be worn by employees covered under AFSCME or terms specific
to their position.
See School Board Policy 1216, 3216 and 4216
Polk County School electronic mail (e-mail) accounts are granted to employees. Accounts shall
be used to enhance communication for work-related duties. The use of e-mail accounts must be
in support of education and/or research that are consistent with the educational goals and policies
of the Polk County School Board. The employee in whose name the account is issued is
responsible at all times for its proper use. Behavior that is inconsistent with this policy may result
in disciplinary action, which may include possible termination or legal action. Most electronic
communication is a matter of public record and should never be considered private or secure.
Under Florida law, email addresses are public record.
Please refer to the Technology Acceptable Use Policy found later in this handbook and
www.polk-fl.net (keyword: Technology Policies).
See School Board Policy 7540.05
As a benefit to all employees and their dependents, the School Board provides an Employee
Assistance Program (EAP) that is designed to help employees and their family members deal
with personal problems that may be affecting their quality of life. Balancing the needs between
work and life is a challenge that we all face. Your Employee Assistance Program from Aetna
Resources for Living (formerly Horizon Health) provides free, confidential services to deal with
personal problems that are affecting your quality of life, offer professional consultation for your
legal/financial questions, or to assist you with locating elder care, child care, special needs
services, and much more. For more information about this valuable benefit, please visit
http://www.polk-fl.net/staff/employeeinfo/eap. You can access your EAP by calling 1-800-2727252.
See School Board Policy 1170.01, 3170.01 and 4170.01
The district has a system for assessing the performance of teachers and other instructional
personnel who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
The primary purposes of teacher evaluation system processes are quality assurance (increasing
student learning growth) and professional learning (improving the quality of instruction).
Teacher evaluation should be a positive and ongoing process requiring considerable time, effort,
and openness of both teachers and their administrators. The process should focus on student
achievement by helping teachers become more effective in the application of high probability
instructional strategies derived from contemporary educational research.
Classroom Teacher Evaluation Components
All classroom teachers’ Stage 2 Evaluation Rating is based on “points earned” related to the
following elements:
Student Academic Performance
Classroom teachers are rated and awarded points individually for this evaluation component.
Student performance data from state assessments or District-developed/selected assessments for
students enrolled during Survey 2 and 3 in courses taught by the teacher will be used to determine
the point values assigned to the teacher for use in determining the Student Academic Performance
Instructional Practice
Teachers are individually rated and awarded points based upon demonstration of evidence-based
teaching practices linked directly to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices. Instructional
Practice ratings are derived from the points earned for each EPC and combined with points
awarded for the teacher’s situational context (multi-metric).
A Self-Evaluation process pertaining to the evidence-based teaching practices and behaviors
(linked directly to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices) is completed by the classroom
teacher. Each teacher analyzes the EPCs and related rubrics. After reflecting on his/her practices
as delineated in the rubric descriptions, the teacher rates him/herself accordingly for each EPC.
The rubric points are totaled. Teachers rate themselves individually.
Non-Classroom Instructional Personnel Evaluation
Non-Classroom Instructional Personnel are those individuals who by the nature of their job role
do not have traditional classrooms, but serve a “caseload” of students, staff, or families. In
addition, they often are not directly responsible for content instruction nor do state standardized
assessments directly measure their impact on students. If a teacher’s instructional assignment is
not classroom-based, he or she is considered Non-Classroom Instructional Personnel.
Evaluations for Non-Classroom Instructional Personnel are comprised of three elements:
· Instructional Practice
· Individual Goal or Library/Media Specialist Absolutes (Multi-Metric)
· Student Academic Performance
(Source: Teacher Evaluation Systems Manual)
Non-Instructional Personnel Evaluation
All non-instructional personnel in the school district will have access via the Intranet >
Professional Development > Non-Instructional Assessment. Evaluation Information, to a copy of
the non-instructional personnel evaluation handbook, which includes the evaluation forms and
procedures for conducting the evaluation.
Leave for Injury/Illness in the Line of Duty is granted for up to 10 days per year when an
employee (eligible for benefits) is absent because of personal injury that occurred while working
or because of illness from a contagious or infectious disease contracted while working.
Contagious or infectious disease refers to those normally related to children, such as measles,
chicken pox, mumps, etc.
In order to be eligible for this protection, the injury must be reported to the Workers’
Compensation carrier. Treatment must be provided by an approved Workers’ Compensation
doctor. Whenever possible, doctor appointments are expected to be coordinated between the
employee, Workers’ Compensation Carrier, and the doctor’s office to be the least disruptive to
the normal working day
The Illness/Injury in the Line of Duty form should be filed within the time limits described in the
employee’s collective bargaining agreement or within 24 hours for non-bargaining employees.
The employee must provide documentation from the Workers’ Compensation doctor in order for
time to be approved. Contact the Risk Management Department for additional information.
See School Board Policy 8442
Unless otherwise specified by law, leave is granted at the discretion of the School Board. Policies
about leave are designed to protect school operation from unnecessary interruption due to
absences. When employees apply for leave, they must complete the appropriate form and include
the reason for requesting the leave in writing. The School Board may cancel the leave if it is used
for a different purpose or cause. Leave is generally granted in advance, not retroactively.
However, emergencies that cannot be anticipated are considered “granted” in advance if they are
promptly reported. A new application may be filed at the expiration of leave, with new leave
granted at the discretion of the School Board. The person on leave is responsible for requesting a
renewal; it is not automatic. If a renewal is not requested, employment will be terminated.
Types of Leave
Charter School
Domestic Violence Leave
Family Medical Leave
Jury Duty
Medical Leave
Temporary Duty Assignment
Vacation policy for 12-month employees with continuous creditable years of service is:
o 0-5 years: 13 days per year
o 6-10 years: 16 1/4 days per year
o More than 10 years: 19 1/2 days per year
The number of years credited for vacation must have been spent in Polk County. Only years when
the employee was on a 10-month basis or longer will be used. Any service break of more than
three days without leave will break continuity, and the employee must start at zero years if reemployed.
Employees cannot carry more than 40 days of vacation to the next calendar year.
Vacation time must be approved by the Superintendent or his/her designee and should be planned
so that normal operation of the school or department is not affected. Payment for vacation shall
be at the employee’s current daily rate of pay. The number of sick and vacation hours an individual
has accrued is listed on each paycheck stub and is converted into days according to the number of
hours worked per day.
For additional information on Leave of Absence requirements and procedures, please refer to the
Payroll Information Section of this handbook. Detailed information regarding leave policy can
be found in your respective Bargaining Agreement. Copies are available at your hiring location
or on the Polk County School Board website at www.polk-fl.net.
All money collected from any source must be recorded on a Report of Monies Collected Form.
This form serves as a record of students’ payments for fees, textbooks, yearbooks, rentals, etc. The
form eliminates the need for individual receipts to students. If a student or his/her parent insists
upon a receipt, the student should be sent to the finance secretary to make the payment. All Report
of Monies Collected forms are processed in triplicate. Do not separate the form. Each form is
numbered, and the school is held accountable for each form. If it becomes necessary to void a
Report of Monies Collected form, write void on it and return it to the finance secretary. The Report
of Monies Collected form should be filled out, signed, dated, and turned in to the finance secretary
with the money collected. The financial secretary should also sign and date the Report of Monies
Collected form and return it to you with an Official Receipt attached. Your copy of the Report of
Monies Collected form and Official Receipt should be kept in a safe place. Everyone is subject to
audit by the Internal Auditor for the District Office.
All checks are to be made payable to the school. Please put the student’s name on the check if it
is different from the pre-printed information. Please put the account number the money is to be
deposited into on the check.
All money collected should be turned in to the office daily with the Report of Monies
Collected form as described above. Follow these procedures to avoid possible suspension
and/or termination of employment.
Some employees, as part of their duties, are assigned Board vehicles. These vehicles are to be
used for school board business only. Safety belts must be worn at all times in Board vehicles that
are equipped with them. Any employee who is assigned a county vehicle and acquires excessive
at-fault traffic citations is subject to disciplinary action and may have his/her driving privileges
canceled. This could cause termination of employment.
See School Board Policy 8651
Personnel/employment records are processed and maintained in the Human Resource Services
Division. All personnel files are public records and as such are available for public inspection. If
you would like to review your personnel file, please contact the Human Resource Services
Division for an appointment.
The School Board automatically exempts some confidential and sensitive personal information,
such as social security numbers and medical information, from your personnel file before public
disclosure in accordance with the Public Records Law. An agency that is the custodian of the
personal information specified shall maintain the exempt status of the personal information only
if the officer, employee, justice, judge, or other person, or employing agency of the designated
employee, submits a written request for maintenance of the exemption to the custodial agency. If
you are a current School Board employee who is either an active or former employee in one of the
above categories, and/or you are the spouse or a child of an active or former employee, you may
exercise your right of exemption from certain Public Records laws. If you elect to exempt your
address and telephone number from all School Board public lists, please fill out the Personnel File
Request for Exemption form and return it to your Principal/Supervisor for submission to Human
Resource Services Division. For more information about this written exemption or to see if you
qualify, please refer to Florida Statute 119.071. If you qualify, you will need to complete in writing
the Personnel File Request for Exemption Form; it is maintained on the intranet of the district
webpage (Human Resource Services Division/Personnel/Forms). If you need additional
assistance, please contact your supervisor or Human Resource Services.
The Human Resource Services Division should be notified in writing of any changes in personal
status such as changes in name, address or marital status. Please notify the Risk Management
Department regarding any changes in beneficiary for life insurance purposes and/or changes in the
number of dependents.
See School Board Policy 1590, 3590 and 4590
In the event that the administration determines that an involuntary transfer to another school or
hiring location must occur, the employee shall be notified of the decision in writing. For more
detailed information, please refer to your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Our employees are committed to conserving energy, reducing waste and recycling whenever
possible. Please do your part by using special recycling containers located on our campuses for
waste paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other recyclable materials. Turn off lights and
equipment when you are away from your work area to help us conserve. For more information
about the district’s recycling efforts, call the Recycling Program at 534-5052.
For more
information about the Energy Education Program, call 534-0586.
See School Board Policy 7460
New employees have approximately five (5) months from their hire date to select between two
very different retirement plans through the Florida Retirement System (FRS), the Pension Plan or
the Investment Plan. While the School Board contributes the majority of employees’ retirement
savings, currently 3% is automatically deducted from employees on a pretax basis, regardless of
their plan choice. Both plans have advantages and disadvantages. The plan that is best will depend
on your personal situation. The FRS provides comprehensive financial planning resources through
the www.MyFRS.com Financial Guidance Program (toll free 1-866-446-9377).
The Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan in which members are promised a continuing benefit
at retirement if they meet certain age and/or service requirements. This Plan is designed for longerservice employees who will work for an FRS-covered employer all or most of their career. The
benefit amount is determined by formula, normally based on the members’ earnings, length of
service, and service value, and in some cases the age in which retirement benefits are claimed.
The Investment Plan, offered since 2000, is a defined contribution plan under which contributions
are made by the employer and employee, to individual member accounts to generate funds for
distribution to the member at retirement (termination). This Plan is designed for employees who
are likely to work for multiple employers during their career. Contribution amounts are determined
by Florida Statute and are usually a set percentage of the employee’s salary. Investments are
generally directed by the employee, among investment products offered by the plan. The benefit
amount at retirement (termination) is the sum that accumulates in the member’s account, based on
contributions made and investment earnings/losses. It is the member’s responsibility to ensure that
sufficient funds are raised to provide for adequate retirement income.
Vesting refers to your earned right to receive a retirement benefit when you reach normal or early
retirement age, even though you may have terminated before that age.
Pension Plan members hired before July 1, 2011 are vested after completion of six (6) years of
creditable service. Normal retirement is 62 years of age, or 30 years of service, regardless of age.
If you have at least six years of creditable service, but have not reached your normal retirement
age as described above, you can take early retirement (within 20 years of normal retirement age).
The amount of your benefit is reduced 5% for each year you are under age 62.
Pension Plan members hired on and after July 1, 2011 are vested after completion of eight (8)
years of creditable service. Normal retirement is age 65, or when an employee has 33 years of
service credit, regardless of age. If you have at least eight years of creditable service, but have not
reached your normal retirement age as described above, you can take early retirement (within 20
years of normal retirement age). The amount of your benefit is reduced 5% for each year you are
under age 65.
Under the FRS Investment Plan, vesting occurs after completion of one (1) year of creditable
service. This benefit is based on return of investments or progress.
Preparing to Retire for Pension Plan Members
Pension Plan members may create a User Profile to access their Online Services Account to view
salary history, service credit and create estimates at www.polk-fl-net, Search: retirement. If you
are preparing to retire, certain steps should be taken to ensure that there will be no loss of benefits
to you:
Decide When You Intend to Retire
To be eligible for FRS benefits, you must first terminate employment with the School
Board. Retirees wishing to apply for reemployment with an FRS employer are subject to
rehire restrictions and should not be reemployed by any FRS employer for a minimum of
six (6) months and possibly up to one (1) year following their retirement date.
Request an Estimate
Within one year of your proposed retirement/termination date, you are encouraged to
request an audit of your years of service, and you may request an estimate of benefits by
contacting the Retirement Office in Risk Management & Benefits Department or by
obtaining Form FR-9 from the Retirement webpage (www.polk-fl.net, Search: retirement.)
The Division of Retirement will mail the estimate of benefits. It will show the estimated
retirement benefits to which you are entitled.
Apply for Retirement Benefits
Three to six months before your retirement date, Pension Plan members may print the
appropriate retirement application forms from www.polk-fl.net, Search: retirement.
Questions regarding retirement options should be forwarded to the Retirement Office in
the Risk Management & Benefits Department.
Preparing to Retire for Investment Plan Members
Investment Plan members must meet termination and age requirements before requesting a
distribution. Comprehensive financial planning resources are provided through the
www.MyFRS.com Financial Guidance Program (toll free 1-866-446-9377).
Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP)
The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) allows qualified employees to retire, and
continue to work for up to 60 months from the date they first reach normal retirement (age 62 or
30 years of service for employees hired before July 1, 2011) while accumulating retirement
benefits. While participating in DROP, monthly retirement benefits remain in the FRS Trust Fund,
earning tax-deferred interest, while employees continue to work (as a “retiree” DROP members
do not earn additional service credit for retirement). While in DROP employees do not contribute
to the FRS. When the DROP period ends, employees must terminate employment and retire from
the District. DROP retirees then receive payment of the accumulated DROP benefits and begin
receiving monthly retirement benefits (pre-determined at the initial date of DROP entry).
For additional information and forms to apply for DROP, visit www.polk-fl.net, Search:
retirement, or contact the Retirement Office in the Risk Management & Benefits Department.
Social Security
Social Security contributions are automatically deducted from your salary and matched by the
School Board on your behalf. For additional information contact the Payroll Department or the
Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov or 1-800-772-1213.
Health Insurance and Life Insurance
You may elect to retain the benefits that you are enrolled in at the time of retirement. You may
decrease benefits at retirement, but you may not increase them. For additional information contact
the Risk Management and Employee Benefits Department.
For additional information, contact the Retirement Specialist, Risk Management & Benefits
Department (863) 519-3858.
See School Board Policy 1420 and 4420
Any full time employee, having been employed by the Polk County School Board at least one (1)
year and having at least fifteen (15) days accrued sick leave, may enroll in the Sick Leave Bank
by contributing one (1) sick leave day to the sick leave bank during an open enrollment period. A
full-time employee is a person employed for five days a week in an established position.
An employee contributes one sick day one time for initial membership at the time of application.
If the balance of days in the bank falls below 25% of the total membership, all participating
members will be asked to donate one additional day to maintain their membership. Members of
the bank who become unable to work for an extended period of time may withdraw days from the
bank. Some restrictions do apply and potential bank members will get additional information
during the open enrollment periods each fall and spring.
For additional information, contact the Employee Relations Department in the Human Resource
Services Division (863) 534-0781.
See School Board Policy 1430.03, 3430.03 and 4430.03
Under certain conditions, a supervisor may recommend to the Superintendent the suspension or
dismissal of an employee. Administrative Leave for immediate suspension or dismissal are
outlined in detail in your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement and School Board Policy.
See School Board Policy 3140, 3140.01 and 4140
The Polk County School District offers access to network resources and the internet. The use of
the network and the internet must be in support of educational and professional activities that are
consistent with the educational goals and policies of the Polk County School Board. The user is
responsible at all times for its proper use. The Superintendent or designee may examine files to
determine if a user is acting in violation of any District policies. Failure to comply with these
policies may result in disciplinary action, legal action and/or cancellation of access. Changes in
policies and guidelines will be periodically posted via email. Employees are responsible for all
noticed changes and for reviewing current Board Policies and Technology Policies related
to acceptable technology use.
See School Board Policy 7540, 7540.01, 7540.02, 7540.04, 7540.05, 7542, 7543
See www.polk-fl.net (keyword: Technology Policies)
While occasional personal telephone calls may be made during work hours, such calls should not
interfere with performance of job responsibilities, emergencies excepted. Preferably, such calls
should be made during planning time, break time, before and after the official workday, or during
lunch. Employees should remember that the district telephone system, including long distance
telephone calls, and the various school telephone systems, is not to be used for personal long
distance telephone calls, unless the calls are billed to a personal credit card or a personal telephone
Temporary duty leave is authorized for all Employees who are assigned by the Superintendent to
be on duty at such a place or places removed from their regular place of duty. The Superintendent
is authorized under these policies to reassign Employees to temporary duty as deemed necessary
and to execute payment for reimbursement of expenses. Temporary Duty Assignment (TDA)
requests should be submitted electronically for approval by the supervisor and to the cost center
manager for verification of funds, prior to the date of the event. With proper prior approval from
an employee’s supervisor, overnight stays are permitted for out of county travel and will be
reimbursed according to policy. For example, School Based and/or District Based Administrators
may approve overnight stays for school based staff and District Based Administrators may approve
overnight stays for district staff.
The use of tobacco products, including the use of electronic, "vapor," or other substitute forms of
cigarettes, clove cigarettes, or other smoking devices, is prohibited within any indoor facility and
on campus of any facility owned or leased or contracted for by the Board, including, but not limited
to: practice fields, playgrounds, football fields, baseball fields, softball fields, pool areas, soccer
fields, tennis courts, and all open areas. Furthermore, the use of tobacco is prohibited in all
vehicles owned or operated by the Board, including, but not limited to, school buses, vans, trucks,
station wagons, and cars. Compliance is expected and required. Violations of this policy will result
in appropriate action being taken, the same as a violation of any other School Board policy. The
School Board will provide assistance to any employee who wishes to quit smoking, including
participation in smoking cessation programs and/or workshops.
See School Board Policy 1215, 3215 and 4215
Employees have a right to know about exposures to toxic substances in the workplace. A list of
toxic substances is listed at each school or District facility. Toxic Hazard Preparedness (THP) is
the responsibility of the Facilities and Operations Division. Current files of Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDSs) will be maintained for every hazardous material present on District property. In
fulfilling these responsibilities, the Facilities and Operations Division may enlist the aid of
county and municipal authorities and, if possible, the owners or operators of identified potential
sources of toxic hazards.
District Contacts:
Doug Dodgson Custodial Services
Rory Luce
Maintenance Services
Susan Ehrhart School Nutrition
Scott Reeves
Support Services
Delven Reed
Sid Lee
See Policy 8431
Employees may request transfers based on advertised vacancies. Employees who wish to transfer
to a different work site during the school session shall submit a transfer request to their immediate
supervisor for the specific vacancy being advertised. For a list of vacancies, access the PCSB
website. For information regarding existing employee transfers, refer to your Collective
Bargaining Agreement or School Board Policy.
If you go on official unpaid leave, you are entitled to any and all of your benefits. However, for
as long as you are on leave, to the extent permitted by law, the Board does not contribute to your
health or life insurance coverages. You will be responsible for payroll deductions that you would
have paid if you were still on active status, plus the amount the Board would have contributed. If
you fail to pay your bill, the Risk Management Office may cancel the coverage. Leave employees
are entitled to the same annual enrollment that active employees have.
The School Board provides you with necessary equipment, materials, and vehicles to carry out the
job assigned to you. If you are assigned any equipment, it becomes your responsibility to exercise
care in its operation. Personal use of vehicles, materials, supplies, tools or other equipment is not
permitted. Violation could result in disciplinary action up to dismissal, criminal prosecution or
The Human Resource Services Division maintains the website to provide employees with
knowledge of all vacancies. Information is updated on a daily basis. The vacancy notice remains
on the website for a minimum of five (5) days. An employee seeking a new position within the
system is encouraged to access the website on a consistent basis. Current employees are given
priority consideration for all promotion opportunities and will not be discriminated against on the
basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, age, religion, or any other basis
prohibited by law.
Volunteers are a vital part of Polk County Public Schools. School volunteers enhance the quality
of our children’s education by:
Reinforcing skills taught by teachers
Giving students individual attention
Helping students develop confidence and competence
Preparing students to be engaged citizens
Each school individualizes its volunteer program to meet the needs of the students and teachers.
Under the leadership of the Principal, the volunteer coordinator provides training and direction
that will enable you to support the academic needs of our students.
As an approved volunteer, you are a role model for students. You serve at the discretion of the
local school and are expected to operate within the boundaries of school board policy.
Current Polk County Public Schools employees can submit a volunteer application by visiting
https://volunteer.polk-fl.net for automatic approval. Use your Outlook user name
(first name.last name) and your PCPS password. Payment for a background check is not required
because a level 2 background check is performed before offered employment. Retiring
employees are required to submit a volunteer application PRIOR to their retirement date to avoid
paying the $25.00 background check fee. Paper applications are also acceptable and can be
submitted through courier to:
The Department of Public Relations & Strategic Partnerships, Route E.
For more information on volunteering, contact the Department of Public Relations & Strategic
Partnerships at (863) 534-0636.
See School Board Policy 2430.01
It is the expressed policy of the Polk County School Board that no weapons/firearms shall be taken
to a school, school sponsored event or on school board property by anyone other than law
enforcement personnel.
All persons, including school personnel, violating the provisions of this policy, while on School
Board property or while attending school activities, wherever located, shall be immediately
reported to the proper law enforcement authority. Employees violating the above provisions shall
also be reported to the School Board and to the Professional Practice Commission. The
Superintendent shall report any Employee violation of the provisions hereof to the School Board
and shall also include a recommendation for disciplinary action, which may include suspension or
dismissal. Authorized school programs requiring the usage of firearms shall be exceptions.
See School Board Policy 1217, 3217 and 4217
If you are injured on the job, the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law protects you. If you are hurt
on the job, regardless of how slight an injury, it is your responsibility to report it to your supervisor
or principal. You may think the injury insignificant at the time, but it could develop into something
that requires medical care, and a report should be on file for you to receive treatment.
This benefit is provided by state statute, and there are rules and procedures both you, as the
employee, and your employer must follow. Further, there are stiff penalties for fraud.
The School Board provides safety equipment that must be used when engaging in certain
activities. Be sure to use this protection because you could be penalized if you are injured while
not doing so. A good example is a car seat belt. Using it not only protects you against injury but
also protects your rights under Workers’ Compensation and your ability to recover from the
responsible party.
As stated in the Polk County School Board Policy 4124 Drug-Free Workplace drug testing will be
conducted for all on the job injuries.
Please refer to the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement or School Board Policy for
an in depth discussion of the items summarized in this section.
See School Board Policy 8442 and 4124
Section 3
Payroll Services
Payroll Information
Additional Work
Termination-Pay-up of Holdback/Unused Leave
New Hires First Paycheck
Sick/Vacation Leave
Payroll Deductions
Contacts for Miscellaneous Deductions
School district employees are paid on the last work day of each month. Paychecks are usually
distributed by a principal or supervisor at your main work location. The Payroll Calendar on the
Polk County School Boards website shows holidays and scheduled pay dates.
In compliance with federal labor laws, employees must accurately record daily work hours on the
appropriate time log. Falsification of these payroll records is grounds for termination.
Paychecks for regular employees are subject to mandatory payroll deductions for social security
tax, Medicare tax and federal withholding tax, based on Forms W-4 and the tax tables furnished
by the Internal Revenue Service.
Payroll deduction is available for School Board sponsored items such as medical, dental and life
insurance, and MIDFLORIDA Federal Credit Union. Additional payroll deductions are permitted
for items such as cancer insurance, salary continuation (disability) insurance, union dues, tax
sheltered annuities, the YMCA, and Series EE U.S. Savings Bonds.
Employees will have their net pay deposited directly into any banking institution of choice.
Employees will get a direct deposit slip showing gross pay and applicable deductions.
School Board employees with at least one full year of service will be partially reimbursed for their
unused sick leave when their employment ends. For more information, contact the Payroll
Work Hours
Because of the diversity of the school system, an employee’s work hours will be determined by
the supervisor. Be sure to discuss this with your supervisor before you begin work.
Breaks during the normal work day are permitted by supervisors. Normally, there is one break in
the morning and one in the afternoon.
Breaks are not to exceed 15 minutes each. The hours and times for breaks are left to the discretion
of the principal or supervisor. Employees’ lunch periods are scheduled so that there is always
someone in the office to assist the public. The exact time you take your lunch break will be
determined by your supervisor.
* This does not apply to administrative or instructional personnel.
Will I be paid for additional work and overtime?
It depends on whether or not the additional work is related to your regular job function and
whether you have your supervisor’s approval prior to working any additional hours. It also
depends on whether or not you receive additional compensation and on whether or not you
are classified as “Overtime Exempt” or “Overtime Non-Exempt” under Wage and Hour Law.
If you are Non-Exempt, you will receive additional compensation; if you are Exempt, you
will not receive additional compensation. If you are unsure of your classification, contact the
Human Resource Services department.
Some Exempt Positions
Assistant Principals
Guidance Counselors
District Office Professionals
District Office Administrators
Foodservice Managers
Some Non-Exempt Positions
Foodservice Assistants
Clerical Staff
Bus Drivers & Attendants
If you are Non-Exempt, you must have prior approval of your immediate supervisor before
you actually work outside of your normal planned working time.
If the additional work is outside of the realm of your regular job, and you have received proper
approvals in advance, you will be compensated for the work at the rate of pay associated with
the job you are performing. As an example, a teacher may work at night teaching at the Adult
School and be compensated at a set hourly rate different from her normal hourly rate assigned
to her daytime job.
How will I be paid for my additional work?
An employee’s normal daily working hours on scheduled workdays is referred to as Planned
Working Time. Employees who fall under the Overtime Non-Exempt category (employees
who are covered by Wage and Hour Law) will be compensated for time worked outside of
their planned working time. Hours worked at the employee’s regular job and outside of
Planned Working Time will be paid as Additional Time at the employee’s regular hourly rate
of pay. Hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week, including all work within the
school board, will be paid as Overtime .5x, at one and one-half the employee’s regular hourly
rate of pay. (The school board work week begins Monday at 12:00AM (midnight) and ends
Sunday at 11:59 PM.) For example, a secretary works 42 hours and is scheduled to work 37.5
hours. That employee will receive additional compensation equal to 4.5 hours (Additional
Time) at his or her straight time hourly rate, plus 2.0 hours (Overtime .5x) at one-half her
hourly rate.
Hours worked at a job, which is not related to the employee’s regular job, will be compensated
at a special hourly rate of pay. The extra pay on the paycheck will be shown under the
category of the work performed. As the example of the teacher who teaches adult school at
night, the payment for the adult school work will show as Adult School on her paycheck.
Another example would be when an employee attends a required in-service training class
outside of normal hours. The employee is compensated at a special rate of pay, and it shows
as In-Service Training on the paycheck.
When will I be paid for my additional work?
You should expect to receive payment for some of your additional work in the pay period
following the period you performed the work. As an example, if you worked additional time
from February 20 to February 28, you will receive payment for that additional time in your
March paycheck. Time entry to the payroll system must cut off around the 20th of the month,
and additional work cannot be recorded in advance of when you worked. Time entry cut offs
vary from month to month; therefore, this is only an example.
What about compensatory time?
Polk County School Board does not offer compensatory time, unless ratified within a specified
collective bargaining agreement.
HOLDBACK (does not apply to 12-month employees)
What is holdback?
Employees who work less than twelve (12) months will have holdback. Holdback is
calculated for Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants the same as the other groups of employees.
For Non-Bus Driver/Bus Attendants, the overall intent is to give employees as close to
twelve equal payments as possible. The paycheck is designed to give employees useful
information about how they are paid, including the amount earned for the pay period, the
amount of “holdback” deducted or added for the period, and the holdback balance-to-date.
For most pay periods, employees will earn more than they will be paid. The difference
between what is earned and what is paid is referred to as “holdback” and will be shown as a
negative amount in the earnings section of the paycheck. When holdback is deducted from
earnings, it is added to the “holdback balance” shown just under the “total earnings” amount
on the paycheck. The holdback balance accumulates throughout the school year so that it
can be drawn upon in months such as December (where employees will earn less than what
should be paid) and June and July (where some employees are not working and earn
nothing). When the holdback balance is drawn upon, the amount of holdback in the
earnings section of the paycheck will be shown as a positive amount, and the holdback
balance will be reduced. Any holdback balance remaining at the end of June will be paid
out at the end of July so that the holdback balance is reduced to zero.
The amount of holdback for each pay period (a pay period is generally a calendar month) is
determined by the employee’s work schedule and hourly rate of pay. The payroll system will
attempt to pay an amount equal of the employee’s annual salary divided by twelve (the
monthly salary). The difference between what is earned and what is paid is either added or
subtracted from the holdback balance.
For Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants, Holdback will be taken and stored for use during the
summer and other payroll periods with a small number of working days. Holdback will be
calculated only on Assigned Route Time and Paid Leave. Any other earnings will be paid as
according to the payroll period in which they are earned. Assigned Route Time may vary
between individual employees and is subject to change at any given time. The average daily
working hours for each payroll period will be automatically determined for each individual
employee to be used in the Holdback calculation.
What if I have any unpaid absences? How will they affect my holdback?
Unpaid absences are deducted after the holdback calculation. In other words, unpaid absences
do not reduce the holdback amount deducted. For example, if an employee uses Personal
Leave Without Pay to cover two days’ absence in August, the amount of holdback deducted,
added to the holdback balance in August, is the same as if the absences did not occur. The
employee in this example can expect to take the full hit of the absences without pay in August,
and there will be no a\effect on paychecks the following summer.
What about additional work with the school board, like working adult school at night?
Supplemental payments and payments for additional work are not included in the holdback
calculation. Examples are teaching supplements, coaches’ supplements, teaching extra class
period, teaching adult school, and in-service training. Employees should expect to receive the
full benefit of these payments when they are earned and recorded into the system. Employees
covered by wage and hour law (overtime non-exempt employees) can expect to receive full
payment for Additional Time and Overtime Premium when it is earned.
What if my employment in a position did not begin until after the first day of the school year?
Employees who start work late in the school year will have his/her salary prorated and will
receive an equal monthly pay check beginning with the month following the start of
employment through the end of July. In the first month of employment, the employee official
start date will determine if his/her first pay check will be either the same equal monthly checks
for the remainder of the school year or will be limited to the actual number of days worked in
the month. If the employee's first pay check is the actual number of days worked, it is because
the employee did not work enough days in the month to receive an equal pay check.
What if I have a change in my salary or a change in my work schedule?
Employees who receive a change in rate of pay or work schedules in mid-year should expect
that their checks after the rate of pay change is effective will not be equal to the new monthly
salary. In situations where the employee receives an increase in hourly pay or increase in
hours worked per day during the year, their check should be less than the new monthly salary.
If the reverse is true and the employee takes a reduction in hourly pay or reduced hours worked
per day during the year Always pay attention to your “holdback balance” on your paychecks.
What if I normally start to work in July each year?
If you start to work in July before the August payroll period, you will be paid in July for days
you work in July. Non 12-month employees who work in the July payroll period will usually
receive two checks in July, one to pay up the balance of holdback from the preceding school
year and another to pay for days worked in July of the current school year. Because the start
date in July can change from year to year, the total amount you receive in July may vary from
one year to the next.
When I terminate my employment with the school board, when may I expect to receive
payment for unused sick leave, vacation leave, and holdback?
Employees other than Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants
1) Termination prior to the completion of your school year
If your last day of employment in your regular position is the 15th of the month or before,
you should expect to receive payment on the normal pay date for the month you terminate.
If your last day of employment is after the 15th of the month, you should not expect to
receive payment until the normal pay date of the following month. For example, if your
last active day as a regular employee of the school board is January 15, you should receive
payment for holdback and unused sick leave on January 31. If your last active day as a
regular employee is January 16, you should not expect to receive payment until February
28. If a situation occurs which prevents you from being paid on the dates set forth above,
you will be paid on a special payroll run on the closest normal business day to the 15th of
the month following your month of termination. For example, your last active day is
January 15, but the proper paper work fails to reach the Human Resource Services
department in time to meet the payroll cut off. In this case, you would be paid on February
15 or the closest business day to the 15th.
2) Termination at the end of your school year.
If you remain employed in your regular position through the last scheduled workday of the
school year, your effective date of termination will be June 30th. If you have a holdback
balance at the end of May, it will be paid to you in the months of June and July. Insurance
deductions may be reflected on each of those checks.
Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants
Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants will be paid for unused leave and any Holdback balance
according to the normal payroll period for which they terminated if their paperwork is
processed in a timely manner. In other words, if a Bus Driver resigns on May 23, any unused
sick leave and Holdback will be paid on June 30 because the payroll period of May 15 to June
15 is designated to have a June 30 pay date. If a situation occurs which prevents a Bus Driver
and Bus Attendant from being paid on the dates set forth above, they will be paid on a special
payroll run on the closest normal business day to the 15th of the month following the normal
date of payment. In the situation above, the day that you would be paid would be around July
How will I be paid for my sick leave when my employment is terminated?
Depending on your length of service, you will be paid for up to 50% of the hours of sick leave
you have accumulated on the date of your termination. If you do not complete your first year
of employment, you will receive no payment for sick leave. If you complete one (1) year of
employment but fewer than nine (9) years, you will receive between 35% and 45% of the
hours accumulated according to guidelines provided in board policy. If you complete nine
(9) or more years of service, you will receive 50% of the hours accumulated. The hours are
not to exceed a total payment of 480 hours.
If your employment is terminated prior to the end of the school year, your sick leave balance
will be adjusted to the amount you actually earned; whereas, the balance shown on your
paycheck represents the amount you have been credited. Even though you get credited with
4 days (5 days if you are a teacher) in the first month, you only earn one day per month of
What if I go on Leave-of-Absence, will I be paid for holdback and unused leave?
You will not be paid for unused sick leave or vacation leave; however, you may be paid for
holdback if you request it. If you are paid for holdback upon going on leave of absence, you
will not receive full checks but you will be re-equalized when you return to work during the
school year. If you return to work during the school year, you will not have accumulated as
much holdback as you otherwise would have accumulated had you not gone on a leave of
Employees other than Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants
If you begin work at the start of the school year, you should expect to receive your first check
at the end of the month you begin work. This depends on proper paper work being completed
and forwarded to the Human Resource Services department in time to meet the payroll cutoff. If the paper work is not received in a timely manner, you should expect to receive your
first check on the next scheduled pay date. As an example, if you begin work on August
11th14 (the first day of the August payroll period for 10 and 11-month employees), and your
paperwork is not sent to the Human Resource Services department until after the 20th of
August, you probably will not receive your first paycheck until the off cycle run around
September 5th You may want to follow up with the secretary at your worksite to make sure
the paperwork is sent to the Human Resources Services Department in a timely manner.
If you begin work during the school year, it will depend on when you start in the month as to
when you will receive your first check. For instance, if you start after the 15th of the month,
you probably will not receive your first check until the next scheduled pay date. Even if you
start early in the month, if your school secretary does not forward the paperwork to the Human
Resource Services department in time to meet the payroll cut-off, you will not receive your
first check until the next scheduled pay date. You may want to follow up with the secretary
at your work site to make sure the paperwork is sent to the Human Resources Services
Department in a timely manner.
Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants
New Bus Drivers and Bus Attendants should receive their first check in accordance with the
pay date assigned to the payroll period for which they begin work. New Bus Drivers and Bus
Attendants should request a copy of the payroll calendar to understand when they will be paid.
Sick leave is available for each regular employee who cannot work due to the following:
Personal illness
Illness of father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, child, close relative, or household
Instructional employees are entitled to four days of sick leave, as of the first day of employment
for each contract year. Other employees get four days of sick leave at the end of the first month.
Thereafter, one day of sick leave is earned for each month of employment. It is credited at the end
of that month and cannot be used prior to the time it is earned and credited. However, employees
can only earn one day of sick leave for each month of employment during the year.
Sick leave is cumulative from year to year. There is no limit on the number of days which an
employee may accrue, except that at least one-half of this cumulative leave must be earned in the
district granting the leave. You can transfer in with leave from another district, but you can bring
in only as much as you earn in a given year. For example, after earning 10 days of leave in Polk
County, you may transfer in an equal number of leave days from another district, until all days
have been transferred into Polk County.
When granting leave, the Superintendent may require written verification of illness from a licensed
physician or from the county health doctor.
Teachers will be credited with the equivalent of four (4) days of sick leave on the first day of
employment each school year and will be credited with one (1) day at the end of each month until
the maximum amount allowed is reached. Other regular school board employees will be
credited with the equivalent of four (4) days of sick leave on the last day of the first payroll period
of the school year and will be credited with one (1) day at the end of each successive month until
the maximum amount allowed is reached. The amount of sick leave credited in a school year shall
not exceed one (1) day times the number of months employed during the school year. For example,
teachers will be credited four (4) days at the first of August when they start work and one (1) day
at the end of August through January to reach a total of ten (10) days earned and credited.
Vacation Leave applies only to 12-month employees and is credited at the end of each month at
a rate set by board policy. Employees with less than five (5) years of service earn vacation at the
rate of 13 days per year. Employees with at least five (5) years of service but less than ten (10)
years of service shall earn vacation at the rate of 16.25 days per year. Employees with ten (10) or
more years of service shall earn vacation at the rate of 19.50 days per year. The maximum amount
of vacation that may be carried forward at December 31 each year is 320 hours.
Sick Leave is earned and used in numbers of hours and is shown on your paycheck as such. Your
daily planned working hours determines the number of hours credited. For example, teachers who
work 7.75 hours per day will be credited with 31.0 hours at the first of August (4 days x 7.75 hours)
and another 7.75 hours at the end of August to show a total amount credited of 38.75 on the August
paycheck. Teachers are used as the base for calculating the maximum number of sick leave hours
to be credited for other groups. Most teachers work 1519 hours per year (196 days x 7.75 hours
per day) and should earn 77.50 hours of sick leave (10 days x 7.75 hours per day). Therefore,
teachers earn sick leave at the rate of 5.103 % of annual working hours. The percentage used to
calculate the maximum number of hours of sick leave earned for other groups based on annual
planned working hours is 5.103%.
Personal Chargeable to Sick Leave represents the amount of sick leave that may be used for
personal reasons. Employees are credited with 6 days on July 1 of each school year to the extent
they have sufficient sick leave balance at that time. The amount of personal leave may not exceed
the amount of sick leave. For example, a new non-teacher is hired on July 1 but is not credited
with sick leave until July 31 and credited with 4 days. The employee in this example will not earn
personal leave until July 31 and will only earn 4 days of personal leave on July 31 because that is
all the sick leave he/she has. He/she will be credited with another additional personal day at the
end of August and at the end of September until he/she reaches 6 days. When personal leave is
used, regular sick leave is charged as well. Employees must report personal leave through
established procedures, and the leave must be approved or granted in advance. If circumstances
make advance application impossible, such leave may be authorized and granted, if promptly
reported and adequately explained.
Deductions can be taken from employees’ paychecks to cover items such as school board health
and life benefits, supplemental insurance coverage provided by outside carriers, union dues,
membership to health fitness clubs, charitable contributions such as the United Way, court
ordered garnishments, and Tax Sheltered Annuities. Board sponsored health and life coverage
will be provided to employees upon employment and again each year during the open enrollment
process and are maintained by the Risk Management department. Other deductions are arranged
between the employee and the company providing the insurance coverage or services. A
standard authorization card should be forwarded to the payroll department indicating the amount
of the monthly deduction with the employee’s signature evidencing authorization of the
deduction. When deductions start is subject to the deadline set by the payroll department each
month for entering deduction information into the payroll system.
Tax sheltered annuities are maintained by the Risk Management Department as well. Please
contact them for a list of companies authorized to sell these products to school board employees.
Deductions are set to go into arrears if the employee does not have enough earnings in a pay period
to cover all deductions. If earnings are not sufficient to cover all deductions, the deductions not
taken will be caught up in the first successive payroll period that has enough earnings for the
deductions to be taken. Pay attention to your paycheck stub. If you see that a deduction did not
come out of your check, call the Payroll Department. You may need to be prepared to have a
double deduction the next payroll period.
Contact Information for Miscellaneous Deductions
Company Name
Aetna Life
AFSCME Florida Council 79-Pres.
AIG Accident
AIG Critical Illness
AIG Universal Life
Allen & Co.
American Century
American Fidelity GAP
American Heritage (AH) Accident
American Heritage (AH) Cancer
Association of School Based Administrators (ASBA)
AXA Equitable
BENCOR (401a & 403b)
Bencor (401a & 403b)
Childcare (FSA) / TASC
Colonial Life & Accident
CPS Investment Advisors
Florida Association of School Based Administrators
Florida Prepaid College Plan
Gold's Gym Aerobic & Fitness
Great American Financial Resources(GALIC)
Horace Mann
ING Retirement Plans (ING)
Lakeland Family YMCA
Life Insurance Co. of the Southwest (LSW)
Lifestyle Fitness Center
Medical (FSA) / TASC
MidFlorida Federal Credit Union
Peninsular State
Plan Member
Polk Education Association (PEA)
Polk Education Foundation (PEF)
Profession Educators Network (PEN)
Soc.Sec. Alternative/MidAmerica/ING/Reliastar
Standard Term Life
United Negro College Fund
United Way of Central Florida
Variable Annuity Life Ins. Co.(VALIC)
Waddel Reed
(800) 872-3862
(863) 287-4072
(800) 231-3655
(888) 730-2244
(800) 231-3655
(863) 688-9000
(800) 345-3533
(800) 323-3748
(800) 521-3535
(800) 521-3535
(863) 688-6863
(863) 602-9693
(800) 628-6673
(888) 258-3422
(888) 258-3422
(800) 422-4661
(800) 325-4368
(863) 688-1725
(850) 224-3626
(800) 552-4723
(863) 646-3036
(800) 854-3649
(800) 999-1030
(863) 644-3528
(800) 579-2878
(863) 644-3030
(800) 422-4661
(866) 913-3733
(800) 356-5297
(800) 544-4116
(800) 874-6910
(863) 533-0908
(863) 534-0434
(800) 311-7770
(863) 647-2500
(800) 638-3120
(800) 325-5757
(407) 896-6940
(863) 648-1500
(800) 369-0314
(800) 683-2135
**More information concerning payroll policies is available in the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreements
and School Board Policy. If you have any questions, please speak with your supervisor
Section 4
Risk Management
Employee Benefit Plans
Eligibility for Employee Benefits
Health Insurance Benefits
Health Clinic
Dental Insurance
Vision Insurance
Section 125
Life Insurance
Dependent Life Insurance
Short Term Disability Insurance
Long Term Disability Insurance
Flexible Spending Account
Benefits Continuation (COBRA)
Employee Assistance Program
The Polk County School Board (PCSB) strives to balance quality coverage and affordability in the
benefits offered to you. The District is pleased to provide an affordable comprehensive benefits
program to help you meet the needs of you and your family.
Some of the following benefit programs are fully paid by the PCSB, and some require contributions
from employees and include the following:
Health Insurance
Life Insurance
Dental Insurance
Dependent Life Insurance
Vision Insurance
Supplemental Life Insurance
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Disability Insurance
PCSB Employee Health Clinic
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Although we introduce you to the plans in this section, we cannot provide the complete details of
each plan here. You should receive official plan documents for each of the benefit plans that we
offer. Those documents (along with any updates) should be your primary resource for information
about your benefit plans. If you see any conflict between those documents and the information in
this Handbook, you should rely on the official plan documents.
The benefits we provide are meant to help employees maintain a high quality of life – both
professionally and personally. We sincerely hope that each employee will take full advantage of
these benefits. If you don’t understand information in the plan documents or if you have any
questions about the benefits we offer, please contact Risk Management.
To be an Eligible Employee, a person must be a bona fide employee of the Polk County School
Board and must meet each of the following requirements:
1. The Eligible Employee’s job must fall within an eligible job classification;
2. The Eligible Employee must have completed any applicable Waiting Period set forth by
the Plan; and
3. The Eligible Employee must have completed any applicable eligibility requirement (s) set
forth by the Plan.
The Polk County School Board’s Covered Employee’s eligibility classification may be modified,
and may be expanded to include:
1. Retired employees;
2. Additional job classifications;
3. Employees of affiliated or subsidiary companies of the Polk County School Board,
provided such companies and the Polk County School Board are under common control;
4. Other individuals as determined by the Polk County School Board (e.g., members of
associations or labor unions).
The PCSB has a self-funded health insurance plan that provides employees and their eligible
dependents access to medical and prescription insurance benefits. Please refer to the annual School
Board of Polk County Benefits Guide for eligibility requirements for covered dependent(s). All
benefit-eligible employees are eligible to participate in the group health insurance plan. Details of
the health insurance plan are described in the Summary Plan Description and information on the
cost of coverage will be provided in advance of enrollment to eligible employees.
The District offers a health clinic for employees, retirees and their covered dependents enrolled in
the PCSB self-funded health plan. Health plan members are able to use the clinic at no cost for
their everyday medical conditions such as cold, flu, sprains, allergies, sinus infections, eye
infections, ear infections and many more common ailments. The clinic may also be utilized as
primary care. Some generic medications are dispensed for free.
The PCSB offers employees a group dental insurance plan that offers employees and their eligible
dependents access to dental benefits. Please refer to the annual School Board of Polk County
Benefits Guide for eligibility requirements for covered dependent(s). All benefit-eligible
employees are eligible to participate in the group dental insurance plan.
The PCSB offers employees a group vision insurance plan that offers employees and their eligible
dependents access to vision benefits. Please refer to the annual School Board of Polk County
Benefits Guide for eligibility requirements for covered dependent(s). All benefit-eligible
employees are eligible to participate in the group vision insurance plan.
Section 125 of the IRS Code allows employees to use pretax dollars to pay the premiums on certain
group (including health, dental and vision) insurance products. These deductions are taken prior
to Social Security and Federal Income Taxes being deducted from your paycheck, which can lead
to significant savings. Benefits elections must remain in effect until the next Open Enrollment
Period unless you experience a qualifying event.
A qualifying event is a change in status to your life that meets IRS approved definitions. If you
need to make a change to your coverage due to a Qualifying Event, you must submit a Change of
Status along with required documentation no more than 31 days after the qualifying event has
taken place. Changes of Status Forms are available on the Risk Management and Employee
Benefits page of the PCSB website or by contacting Risk Management.
Additional information on the group health plans and Section 125 of the IRS is available in the
annual School Board of Polk County Benefits Guide, also available online at the PCSB website
keyword: insurance.
Life insurance offers you and your family important financial protection. As an employee of
PCSB, benefit-eligible employees are provided with $20,000 of term life insurance coverage. This
coverage includes $10,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D). You have the
ability to purchase additional amounts of Group Term Life and Accidental Death &
Dismemberment coverage.
You may elect coverage in increments of 1 to 5 times your Annual Earnings up to a maximum of
$300,000. There is a Guarantee Issue up the amount of $150,000 for new hires. If you do not elect
additional life insurance the first time it is available to you and you choose to enroll at a later date,
you will be considered a late entrant and be subject to medical underwriting. Medical
underwriting is also required for amounts in excess of $150,000.
Any eligible employee may purchase Life Insurance for eligible dependents. The amount of
coverage is $10,000 for the spouse and $5,000 for dependent children through age 20; or 25 if
child is a full-time student. The entire amount of coverage is guarantee issue for new hires.
Medical underwriting is required for all late entrants.
For additional information and premium calculation please refer to the annual School Board of
Polk County Benefits Guide, also available online at the PCSB website keyword: insurance.
Sometimes an employee suffers an injury or an illness outside of the workplace that prevents the
employee from working for a short period of time. Benefit-eligible employees have the
opportunity to enroll in short term disability coverage to protect them in these circumstances.
Group Short Term Disability (STD) insurance pays a benefit in the event you cannot work because
of a covered, non-occupational illness or injury. A STD benefit replaces a portion of your weekly
income, providing funds directly to you to help pay your bills and living expenses.
There may be times when an injury or illness prevents the employee from working for a period
greater than 180 days. Benefit-eligible employees have the opportunity to enroll in long term
disability coverage to protect themselves in these circumstances. Group Long Term Disability
(LTD) insurance is designed to pay a monthly benefit to you in the event you cannot work because
of a covered illness or injury. This benefit replaces a portion of your income, thus helping you to
meet your financial commitments in a time of need.
To learn more about the details of this coverage, including eligibility, refer to your annual School
Board of Polk County Benefits Guide, also available online at the PCSB website keyword:
A FlexPlan is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan that is offered by the PCSB and
administered by TASC. A FlexPlan is one of the most valuable benefits your employer can offer.
A Flex Plan provides you with the opportunity to withhold pretax dollars from your paycheck to
pay for qualified, non-reimbursable health related and dependent care expenses.
For additional information regarding the FlexPlan please refer to the Flexible Spending Account
section of the annual School Board of Polk County Benefits Guide, also available online at the
PCSB website keyword: insurance.
Insurance coverage terminates on the last day of the month in which you pay for coverage from
your paycheck. An information packet, including written notice explaining the terminated
employee’s rights under COBRA will be sent by the PCSB COBRA administrator, Ceridian. This
information will be sent to the address on file in SAP, so it is very important to update your contact
information anytime you have an address change.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (COBRA) allows you to continue
the coverage you had as an active employee if you elect to continue the coverage by paying the
full amount of the premium plus an administrative charge of 2 percent.
Each qualified beneficiary must be offered the option to continue coverage following a qualified
event. Qualifying beneficiaries include any eligible dependent that is covered on the insurance
coverage at the time of employee’s separation of service that is eligible and that continues to be
eligible for coverage. Any qualifying beneficiary that experiences a qualifying event separate from
the employee separating from service (i.e. death of employee, divorce or legal separation, loss of
dependent status) must also be offered the option to continue coverage. For additional information
please refer to your annual School Board of Polk County Benefits Guide, also available online at
the PCSB website keyword: insurance.
As a benefit to all employees and their dependents, the School Board provides an Employee
Assistance Program (EAP) that is designed to help employees and their family members deal with
personal problems that may be affecting their quality of life. Balancing the needs between work
and life is a challenge that we all face. Your Employee Assistance Program from Aetna
Resources for Living (formerly Horizon Health) provides free, confidential services to deal
with personal problems that are affecting your quality of life, offer professional
consultation for your legal/financial questions, or to assist you with locating elder care,
child care, special needs services, and much more. For more information about this
valuable benefit, please visit http://www.polk-fl.net/staff/employeeinfo/eap/default.htm.
You can access your EAP by calling 1-800-272-7252.
For any questions regarding Employee Benefits contact the Risk Management and
Employee Benefits Department at (863) 519-3858 or by email at [email protected]
Section 5
Employee Policies & Procedures for Students
Child Abuse Reporting
Code of Student Conduct
Compulsory School Attendance
Critical Issues
Home Education
Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports
Psychotropic Medication Administration
Student Threats of Harm to Others
Youth Suicide
Adults in Crisis
Indicators of Child Abuse & Neglect
The Polk County School District is committed to creating a safe, healthy, learning
environment for all students that is free from bullying and harassment. All employees are
expected to model and support a school culture that promotes positive interactions and
respect for others. Bullying is more specifically addressed in the Code of Student Conduct,
Section 5.07, as well as the Jeffrey Johnston Anti-Bullying Policy.
Three criteria are necessary for an incident to be bullying:
1. Any behavior that is unwanted, offensive, threatening, intimidating, insulting,
causes discomfort or humiliation, or interferes with the individual’s school
performance which results in the victim feeling stressed, injured, or threatened
2. The behaviors are repeated
3. There is an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.
Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual or cyber in nature.
Staff members who witness or become aware of bullying will immediately intervene in the
following manner:
· Establish the safety of the victim of bullying.
· Report to administration. School administrators are required to investigate all
allegations of bullying.
School Board Policy 8462 and Florida Statute 1006.061(1) states: When child abuse,
abandonment, and/or neglect are suspected by school personnel, the law requires the
The suspected child abuse, abandonment and/or neglect will be reported immediately
to the Florida Abuse Registry, 1-800-96 ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). Child abuse reports
may also be faxed (1-800-914-0004) or e-mailed www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report. All
child abuse reports should be documented by the reporter. (See Child Abuse Indicator
information at the end of the section.) Additionally, the Ethics in Education Act requires
mandatory reporting of child abuse. Failure to report child abuse is a breach of ethics and
could result in job termination, as well as revocation of your teaching certificate.
The “Notice of Report for Child Abuse Hotline” form should be returned anonymously to
your school administrator as soon as possible after calling the Child Abuse Registry at 1800-962-2873. This form may be obtained by accessing Outlook Public Folders → Student
Services → Child Abuse Information.
The Code of Student Conduct is developed to inform students and parents of acceptable
student behavior and the disciplinary alternatives for modifying unacceptable behavior.
The document outlines the rights and responsibilities of the School Board and the students
regarding student conduct while attending school, participating in school sponsored
activities, and while on school property, a school bus, or at a designated school bus stop.
Discipline and appeal procedures, as well as consequences for violations, are included. The
document is updated on an annual basis.
Florida statute requires all students, ages 6 – 16, to attend school. It is the responsibility
of the school administrator to ensure that daily student attendance is taken. Students who
have 5 unexcused absences within a month or 10 unexcused absences within a 90 day
calendar period may be exhibiting “a pattern of nonattendance” that can lead to truancy.
When there is a pattern of nonattendance, the principal must refer the student to the
attendance team. The attendance team must meet with the student's parent to identify
potential remedies and, if that meeting does not resolve the problem, the team must
Frequent attempts at communication between the teacher and the family;
Evaluation for alternative education programs; and
Attendance contracts. (F.S. 1003.26 and F.S. 1003.27)
The Polk County School Board recognizes that questions concerning various critical issues
may be raised by a student in or out of the classroom. The Critical Issues Handbook was
adopted by the School Board to ensure that parents and students receive a consistent
message by all School Board personnel. It is important that personal values and
opinions not be shared. The primary goal is to teach students traditional values such as
respect, kindness, trust, and honesty. It is important for students to understand and decide
what is healthy behavior for one’s body, mind, and soul. The Florida Legislature advocates
abstinence as the expected standard for all school-aged children and youth (Division of
Statutory Revision, 1996). The Polk County School Board supports this recommendation
and the Comprehensive Health Curriculum used by the school district is abstinencedirected in its philosophy and orientation. Students should always be encouraged to
discuss critical issues with their parents or guardians, especially in the area of
personal/family values and morals.
Florida law allows parents to educate their children at home. The law gives parents much
freedom in directing and choosing the educational programs that best meet the needs of
their child. Information and procedures for home education are located on the Polk
County School Board web site at http://www.polkfl.net/districtinfo/departments/learning/studentservices/documents/homeedpacket.pdf
The multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) describes an instructional format that uses
data-based problem solving to integrate academic and behavioral instruction and
intervention. Students receive educational or behavioral supports at varying levels of
intensity depending on their needs. The goal is to prevent problems by intervening early
so that students can be successful.
Typically, schools have two multi-disciplinary teams that analyze student data and develop
supports to maximize student development and provide supports for struggling students:
The school’s Leadership Team reviews student performance and progress at a school-wide
level and monitors the effectiveness of the core (Tier 1) instruction. This team may also
help design and implement supplemental instruction for groups of struggling students (Tier
2 supports; for reading, this support level is often referred to as “triple i”).
The Problem Solving Team (PST) is also multi-disciplinary and uses the problem-solving
model to identify needs and develop intensive supports (Tier 3 supports) for individual
students who are experiencing academic, behavioral, and/or attendance problems that were
not remediated through Tier 1 and 2.
Section 1006.0625, Florida Statutes (F.S.), Administration of Psychotropic Medications,
prohibits public schools from denying any student access to programs or services because
the parent has refused to place the student on psychotropic medication. Any medical
decision made to address a student’s needs is a matter among the student, the student’s
parents, and a competent health care professional chosen by the parent.
School teachers and district personnel may share school-based observations of a student’s
academic, functional, and behavioral performances with the student’s parents and offer
program options and other assistance based on these observations. School teachers and
district personnel may not compel or attempt to compel any specific action by the parent
or require a student to take medication.
School personnel cannot require a student to obtain a prescription for a substance covered
by the Controlled Substance Act as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation,
or receiving services.
Parents also have the right to refuse psychological screening. Rule 6A-6.03311, Florida
Administrative Code (procedural Safeguards for Students with Disabilities), currently
requires informed parental consent prior to conducting an initial individual evaluation to
determine eligibility and prior to initial provision of specially designed instruction and
related services to a student with a disability.
Threats of harm to others or threatened violent acts should be immediately reported to the
school administrator, so that a threat assessment team may be assembled to assess and
intervene. School administrators have been provided with the “Polk County Public Schools
Threat Assessment/Intervention Procedures and Guidelines.” The core threat assessment
team must include an administrator, a current teacher or coach, and a Student Services
professional such as the school counselor, school psychologist or school social worker.
Teachers and support personnel should not attempt to intervene without following these
procedures under the guidance of school administration. Schools are strongly advised to
include their school resource officer or deputy (SRO/SRD) in this process.
Teachers and other school personnel in direct contact with students may become aware that
a student is thinking about suicide. Please refer to the “Polk County Public Schools
Recommendations for Dealing with Potential Student Suicide” for additional information.
It is important for all staff members to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide and to
intervene immediately. Suicide threats must be taken seriously. Do not keep suicide
threats a secret or attempt to resolve these problems alone. Help is needed and may be
obtained through your school administrators, Student Services personnel, and in some
situations, law enforcement.
Some of the risk factors and warning signs of suicide may include:
· presence of a psychiatric disorder (e.g. depression, mood disorder, anxiety
disorders, etc.)
· previous suicidal behavior
· expression of thoughts of suicide or death
· poor problem solving and coping skills
· exposure to another’s suicidal behavior
· recent severe stressor
· family instability, significant conflict
· social isolation
· difficulty in school
· difficulty concentrating
· withdrawal from friends and family
· complaining of being a bad person
· personality change and serious mood changes
· rage, anger, anxiety, reckless behavior
· increased alcohol and/or drug use
· perception of being trapped or having no purpose in life; psychological pain
eating and/or sleeping problems
access to weapons in or around the home
cutting or other self-injurious behaviors (please note, most student who self-injure
are not
actively suicidal.
One sign may or may not signal trouble. More than one sign often means that help is
necessary. Notice how long and how intense the signs are and how many are present at
one time.
School Procedures - What to do when a student is at risk of hurting him/herself:
1. Provide appropriate supervision of the student – do not leave the student alone.
2. Inform the principal or administrative staff of the student’s risk and determine who
will notify the parent(s).
The administrator or designee notifies the parents of the student. If an administrator
is not available, proceed to notify parent and continue to attempt to make contact
with the administrator.
Provide the parents and student with a list of community resources and stress that
immediate action should be taken.
Consult with school counselor, school psychologist, and/or school social worker,
or if needed, the Crisis Team.
Document all actions on the Crisis Intervention Case Record Form. Send
completed form to the Crisis Team Coordinator.
Continue to monitor the student’s progress, support the student, and work
collaboratively with outside professionals and agencies. For students who have
been Baker Acted, complete and submit the Crisis Intervention Follow-up Form.
For students who are displaying suicidal ideation, but lack a specific plan or the means to
carry out that plan, additional support may be needed. The school can contact the Peace
River Center Crisis Response Team (CRT) for additional guidance and short-term support.
If a student is in imminent danger or has actively attempted suicide on campus, the School
Resource Officer or other law enforcement should be immediately contacted. If the student
is injured, call 911. Your school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker
may also be contacted for information on suicide prevention and intervention.
If an employee indicates that he or she is thinking about hurting self or others, immediately
contact the employee’s administrator. The administrator will then contact the Crisis Team
Coordinator for additional assistance.
What to do:
1. Ensure supervision. Do not leave the person alone.
2. Remember that we cannot keep anything that indicates a risk of harm to self or
others confidential.
3. Inform the principal. Do not handle this on your own.
4. Student Services staff or the Crisis Team can help to assess risk and protective
factors to determine if this is a low, moderate or high level threat.
5. If this is a low level threat, then refer to Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
6. If this is a moderate level threat, refer to EAP for assistance as soon as possible
(employee may need help making this call) and document using Crisis Intervention
Case Record Form. Send completed form to the Crisis Team Coordinator.
7. If this is a high level threat:
a. Refer to EAP for immediate assistance (employee may need help making
this call).
b. If the employee cannot or will not access EAP, then contact Peace River
Crisis Response Team for further assistance.
c. Continue to provide supervision on site until Peace River CRT arrives. Do
not leave the person alone, but remember that you cannot force the
employee to remain.
d. If the employee leaves school grounds, then contact law enforcement for
additional assistance.
e. School administration may wish to consult with Human Resources
Department to determine if paid administrative leave is needed and
f. Principal/supervisor must notify Human Resources Department if an
employee is Baker Acted.
g. Document all actions on the Crisis Intervention Case Record Form. Send
completed form to the Crisis Team Coordinator.
ABUSE REGISTRY 1-800-962 ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
dirty, unwashed, hungry, or
inappropriately dressed.
v Without supervision for extended periods of time or
when engaged in dangerous activities.
v Constantly tired or listless.
v Has unattended physical problems or lacks routine
medical care.
v Is exploited, overworked, or kept from attending
v Has been abandoned.
v Malnutrition.
v Bruises and welts (on the face, lips, or mouth; In
various stages of healing; on large areas of the torso,
back, buttocks, or thighs; In unusual patterns,
clustered, or reflective of the instrument used to
inflict them; on several different surface areas).
v Burns (cigar or cigarette burns; glove or sock like
burns or doughnut shaped burns of the buttocks or
genitalia indicative of immersion in hot liquid; rope
burns on the arms, legs, neck or torso; patterned
burns that show the shape of the item [iron, grill,
etc.] used to inflict them).
v Fractures (skull, jaw, or nasal fractures; spiral
fractures of the long (arm and leg) bones; fractures
in various stages of healing; multiple fractures; any
fracture in a child under the age of two).
v Lacerations and abrasions (to the mouth, lip, gums,
or eye; to the external genitalia).
v Human bite marks.
v Hair pulled out of scalp.
v Emotional maltreatment, often less tangible than
other forms of child abuse and neglect, can be
indicated by behaviors of the child and the caretaker.
v Lags in physical development.
v Exposure to domestic violence
v Children who are drug endangered
v Children who have been trafficked
v Consistently
v Has torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.
v Has venereal disease.
v Pain, bruises, itching in genital area.
v Difficulty in sitting or walking.
v Pregnancy.
v Peculiar odor.
v Bedwetting/soiling.
v Is engaging in delinquent acts v Misuses alcohol or other drugs.
prostitution, drug uses, etc.).
v Is begging or stealing food.
v Poor school attendance.
v Extended stays at school.
v Consistent hunger.
v Clinging.
v Assumes adult responsibilities.
v Excessive
v Wary of physical contact with
v Apprehensive when other children
v Demonstrates
aggressiveness or withdrawal).
v Seems frightened of parents.
v Reports injury by parents.
v Engaging in delinquent acts.
v Protective of siblings.
v Appears
passive, and undemanding.
v Is
demanding, or rage-full.
v Shows overly adaptive behaviors,
either inappropriately adult (e.g.,
parents other children) or
inappropriately infantile (e.g.,
rocks constantly, sucks thumb, is
v Lags in physical, emotional, and
intellectual development.
v Attempts suicide.
v Night terrors.
v Poor self-esteem.
v Profane language.
v Speech disorders (stutters, refuses
to speak).
v Lack of trust
v Appears withdrawn or engages in
fantasy or infantile behavior.
v Has a poor peer relationship.
v Is engaging in delinquent acts or
runs away.
v States he/she has been sexually
assaulted by parent/caretaker.
v Bizarre, sophisticated or unusual
sexual knowledge or behavior.
v Refuses to dress-out in P.E.
v Regressive behavior (rocking,
thumb sucking).
v Suicidal.
Maintains chaotic home life.
Shows evidence of apathy or
Is mentally ill or of diminished
Has a long-term chronic illness.
Has history of neglect as a child.
v Has a history of abuse as a child.
v Uses harsh discipline inappropriate
to child’s age, transgression, and
v Offers illogical, unconvincing,
contradictory, or no explanation of
child’s injury.
v Seems unconcerned about child.
v Significantly misperceives child
(e.g., sees him/her as bad, evil, a
monster, etc.).
v Psychotic or psychopathic.
v Misuses alcohol or other drugs.
v Attempts to conceal child’s injury
or protects identity of person
v Blames or belittles child.
v Is cold and rejecting.
v Withholds love.
v Treats siblings unequally.
v Seems unconcerned about child’s
v Extremely protective or jealous of
v Encourages child to engage in
prostitution or sexual acts in the
presence of caretaker.
v Has been sexually abused as a
v Is experiencing marital difficulties.
v Misuses alcohol or other drugs.
v Is frequently absent from the home.
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