CONYERS — At the Rockdale County Board of Education's last meeting for the summer, members approved several adjustments made to a total of six board policies.

First to see change is the district's purchasing policy.

The rationale for updating the DJE Purchasing policy is so it complies with legal requirements, increases transparency and aligns regulations with current market conditions.

The basic language modification to the document clarifies that the board is held responsible for all purchases as long as they are in (and must be) in accordance with the board, Georgia Department of Education and all state and federal laws. Otherwise, the board shall not be bound by any purchase outside this regulation.

Secondly, the board made changes to the Employee Tobacco Use policy.

The document was rewritten in its entirety to portray a clear message that any person associated with the district (employees, interns, independent contractors, agents and visitors) is discouraged from using tobacco products in any building owned or rented by the board, at any school-sponsored activity, or at any time in any vehicle used by the district, including school buses and fleet vehicles. This includes all legal and illegal substances, including products containing CBD.

Violation could result in disciplinary action up to termination.

The board then approved the adoption of two "Reasons for Reduction in Force" held in its Professional Personnel Lay-off policy.

The superintendent may now abolish, downgrade or reduce the number of employees in such position as a result of legal mandates and/or judicial orders that necessitate personnel changes and state and accreditation changes that necessitate personnel or program changes.

This was the only change made to the policy.

The Professional Personnel Termination policy now notes that the RCPS district operates under a Strategic Waiver School System Contract and has waived all portions of the Georgia Fair Dismissal Act. 

This is translated to say that if for any reason an employee decides to leave, they shall comply with all laws, rules, policies and regulations prior to departure.

Next, the board agreed to add sections to the district's Resident Student policy in regards to enrollment.

In addition to the required paper work, an adult who resides in the school district, and to whom the parent or a non-profit or faith based organization has delegated caregiving authority to without regard to relativity, may enroll the child.

Immediate enrollment will also be provided to homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Act, as well as any child currently being served by the Department of Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Children of caregivers who serve in the military are also granted immediate enrollment if military orders have yet to be presented.

Additionally, the system is not responsible for making determinations regarding students' immigration and visa status. Immigrants, non-visa-holders, and non-immigrant, foreign students on various visas who meet age and residency requirements will be enrolled in accordance with the provisions specified in the state enrollment rule.

Concluding changes, the policy also noted the additional documents needed for enrollment including the Georgia Immunization form, the Nutrition, Ear, Eye and Dental certificate, Birth certificate as well as a waiver if the caregiver chooses not to provide their Social Security card.

Lastly, the Student Non-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure compiled with Equal Educational Opportunities will no longer be under the direction of the Safe Schools and Student Affairs Department, but instead the Human Resources Department.

The next Rockdale BOE meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8.

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Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.

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