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 CAB May Institute Cell Phone Policy

September 3, 2008 - In an effort to reign in expenses and help employees avoid potential problems with the Internal Revenue Service, the Charles A. Beard School Board is considering adopting a cell phone use policy.

Superintendent Gary Storie provided the board with a proposed cell phone policy at their Aug. 19 monthly meeting. Noting that CAB does not have a policy in place now, he explained that the IRS has been taking exception to employees making personal use of cell phones provided by their employers.

"Basically, they need to be 100-percent used for work," Storie said. He said the IRS views personal use of employer-provided cell phones as "a taxable event," something Business Manager David Bundy said CAB had not been doing.

Board President Kevin Knott said, based on his review of billing records, CAB spent over $6,400 in 2007 for cell phones used by seven CAB employees. Noting that accounts for some of those employees had not been set up to provide detailed, itemized billing statements, he said felt very strongly that there should be some kind responsibility and accountability for the cell phone use.

Steve Dalton, the board's vice president, said he thought the proposed four-page policy was too long. "It seems like way too many words to do something that is so easy," he said, adding that he favored not providing employees with cell phones.

Bundy told the board his recommendation would be that the board adopt a policy that simply pays a stipend to employees to cover cell phone use. If that were done, Knott said he thought it would be helpful to have a quarterly review to see how the stipends were working out and whether any adjustments were needed.

Responding to a question from Dalton, Bundy said it could be a problem that CAB cell phones had been used for personal calls and not taxed. The board voted to table further consideration of the cell phone policy until a later time.

Storie also presented the board with a draft of a policy regarding contracts for services. Under the policy, which Storie said would be presented for first reading at the board's September meeting, any contract that extends beyond 90 days would require board approval.

The board unanimously approved on first reading a new policy dealing with open enrollment between CAB's three elementary schools. Between May 21 and Aug. 1, parents or guardians will be able to enroll their child in an elementary school outside their district of residence, so long as they provide the child's transportation and there is there is room at the other school.

Storie clarified that the parents’ transportation responsibility under the open enrollment policy could be satisfied by simply driving their child to a bus stop that serves the school they want them to attend. However, he said that would only be the case if there was sufficient room on the bus. A vote on second reading is expected to occur at the board's September meeting.

In other business, the board gave Storie permission to advertise for an additional appropriation in an amount up to $350,000. He explained that CAB has the money, but needs the state's permission to spend it.

Facilities Director Mike McKillip gave a presentation identifying projects completed at CAB buildings over the summer and highlighting plans for future projects. Former board member Ron Womack, who resigned effective July 31, was presented with a plaque commemorating his service on the board.

The board approved hiring Carolyn Shryock as a Title I kindergarten teacher for Kennard and Carthage elementaries, Christianne Masters as a temporary first grade teacher at Kennard, and Derek Hornsby as a business teacher at KHS. James Jahrsdoerfer was approved as an assistant boys varsity track coach, Kenneth Skaggs was approved as a substitute bus driver, and KHS media specialist David Blower was reappointed to the Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority Board.

The board approved minor changes to student handbooks for CAB's three elementary schools, which Storie said address inconsistencies and some improper citation to Indiana statutes. The board also accepted a $10,797.01 bid from Big B Rubbish Removal (New Castle) to continue as CAB's trash hauler for the fifth year in a row.

Storie reported that four responses had been received from attorneys interested in serving as CAB's new legal counsel: Allen Wellman & McNew (Greenfield); Jeremy Bell (New Castle); Church Church Hittle (Indianapolis); and Rund Wallman & Robbins (Indianapolis), the firm that currently represents CAB.

Dalton said he objected to Wallman and his firm being given any further consideration. He said he thought their legal advice had not always been good and said he did not want them back, and Knott said he agreed.


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