Polk County Board of Education October 2018 meeting

Rick Stalling received an award from the Polk School District during their Oct. 2 meeting. / Sean Williams

Taking a day off will be slightly different for Polk School District employees that must now use 100 percent of their leave before taking unpaid days off.

The amendment to the GAHR Policy, which was previously tabled, saw official approval during the board's combined October 2 work session and meeting.

“This is to update the policy to reflect that we need for the employees to exhaust all of their leave before they go on unpaid leave,” Atkins said. “We don't want any employee to have any funds taken out of their pay if they still have leave.”

The policy update excludes absences related to worker's compensation, and the rest of the document was left unchanged. Employees may take 3 days of personal or professional leave if prior approval has been received.

Each district employee will receive one and one-fourth sick day for each completed month, and those who use their days are entitled to full pay. A maximum of 60 sick days can be accumulated from one fiscal year to the next.

Religious holiday leave, jury leave, military leave, bereavement leave, and more are offered by the school without any penalties to time off that can be taken.

Teachers who don't take time off will be working at a much cleaner school thanks to the board approving a three year contract with Sullins Cleaning, Inc.

While the contract was brought to the board several weeks ago, the group decided to delay approval until the employees were given background checks and vetted to the board's liking.

“This was brought to the board about a month and a half ago, but there were some things put in place such as additional background checks,” Atkins said. “Mr. Sullins has taken care of everything- anyone that did not meet the board's criteria is not in our schools, so we're moving forward with the three-year contract.”

Additionally, the contract has been revised so the school board can immediately opt out of the three-year agreement at any time.

Those already employed by the district saw love when the board continued their monthly MERIT award.

Standing for Magnificent Employees Recognized for Inspiration and Talent, the award sees workers from various departments honored with praise and gift cards.

Bus driver Rick Stalling took home the October award for the transportation department.

“This month's MERIT award goes to out transportation department,” Atkins said. “We definitely want to recognize this group. They get our babies to school safely and home safely. We appreciate them and thank them very much.”

Stalling was complimented on his work ethic, willingness to put students first, and overall kind nature before receiving his gift card. The board has paired with Floyd Polk Medical Center who now sponsors MERIT and provides the employees' awards each month as part of their Live Well Polk program.

The transportation department will hopefully live up to the praise they've received when moving kids to the meeting's approved field trips.

Future Business Leaders of America members from both Polk College and Career Academy campuses will be visiting the fall leadership conference at UGA and Buford on November 7 through 8; Polk County 4-H members will be visiting the Cloverleaf Camp in Eatonton, Georgia on June 3 through 7 of 2019.