Floyd County Schools will roll out more vacation days for non-teaching staff following a discussion on how to improve recruiting and keeping top talent during their August work session.
“As we go forward, we are struggling,” Superintendent Jeff Wilson said. “Y’all know we are losing people to other systems.”
The biggest culprit Wilson and the county school’s human resource staff could find was the lack of vacation days offered to non-teaching staff. When the system was looking to hire a new deputy superintendent of operations and an executive director of facilities, there were not as many applicants as expected because of the little or no time off the system allows its employees.
Wilson found that Floyd County Schools offers zero vacation days to staff who work 230 days during the year and five vacation days to employees who work 240 days. Wilson said applicants were sending applications back saying “no thanks” after viewing the system’s time-off policy.
Jeanie Hubbard, assistant superintendent and executive director of human resources, explained that principals, maintenance, administration, clerical and other non-teaching positions are hired on 230 and 240 day contracts.
“This is not like the business world,” she said. “There are 262 possible work days in a calendar year if you work Monday through Friday, every day, without taking a vacation, holiday or sick day.”
Teachers are hired on 190 day contracts, she said. Wilson added that teachers work from July 25 to May 27, that is, during the school year as well as just before and after — while also being off during breaks, holidays, etc.
Other staff come in regardless of when the schools are shut down, Hubbard said.
“Why has nothing ever been done about this,” Board Chair Tony Daniel asked.
“No one has ever looked at this,” Board Member Melinda Strickland replied.
School maintenance workers brought this complaint to the HR department because even when workers took off they would be called in or have to answer their phone.
Jack Gardner, executive director of facilities, addressed the board members directly and compared how FCS handles time off versus other systems. Gardner gave suggestions which included making it easier to take off so workers don’t get burned out and leave.
“Thank you for speaking up,” Strickland said.
Hubbard proposed that instead of closing the system for 14 days, as has been the practice, the county schools close for 25 to give staff more of a break. The system will also give 12 vacation days across the board to staff who work 230 and 240 days during the year.