HAZARD – The Perry County Board of Education on Wednesday approved a couple of technology related items, including a policy relating to Internet use and social media sites in the county schools.
Technology Coordinator Mike Smith presented the board with an acceptable use policy on access to electronic media, which also included standards for access of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The policy discussed on Wednesday is recommended by the Education Professional Standards Board, though not required.
As a part of the policy, which was adopted by the board on a 4-0 vote, Internet safety measures should be in place and implemented throughout the district, including the prevention of access to inappropriate websites, and the safety of minor children using electronic forms of communication, such as chat rooms and email. Smith noted that the district already follows similar guidelines, and blocks access to many sites such as Facebook and YouTube. He added that ensuring students know how to be safe while using the Internet is a key part of this new policy.
The statistics relating to the use of the Internet by minors shows that too many children are practicing unsafe habits, Smith said, including that 14 percent of kids have actually met face to face with a person they first met on the Internet.
“I want to ensure you that we’re doing everything we can to keep kids safe,” Smith told the board.
Smith also addressed the use of social networking sites like Facebook, and noted that teachers who have personal Facebook accounts should be discouraged from ever requesting or accepting friend requests from students. Additionally, any social networking site set up on behalf of a school must first be approved by central office.
The policy will be presented to faculty at the beginning of the next school year.
In other business, the board voted to table the issue of approving a pay raise for an employee who received training through Kentucky Dataseam, a coal-severance funded technology program in Louisville. Smith said the training was necessary for the program, and allowed the district to obtain $40,000 worth of computers for a cost of roughly $5,000. That training, in turn, made the employee eligible for a pay raise.
The raise was not approved, however, after Board Chairman John C. Combs recommended tabling the issue until a later date, noting that no other employees will receive pay raises this year.
“I think we need to study it and find out where we’re at,” Combs said, adding that pay raises and overtime should be uniform across the district.
In this instance, said Superintendent John Paul Amis, the increase would be more akin to a step increase a teacher may receive based on obtaining a Rank I or national certification. He added that he wasn’t requesting the board approve the raise during Wednesday’s meeting, and would ask Finance Officer Jody Maggard to discuss the increase further at the next meeting.
The board also voted to accept four food service bids and re-bid a pest control proposal.
Food Service Coordinator Linda Campbell presented district wide bids for milk, bread, beverages and ice cream. The board approved a bid for milk from Flav-O-Rich at a rate of approximately 20 cents per cup, and a bid for ice cream from Southern Belle at $8.42 per dozen units. Bids were also approved to purchase bread from Hiner’s at $1.18 a loaf, which is actually a decrease from last year, and beverages from Pepsi at $6.75 per unit. These soft drinks include diet sodas, water and Gatorade, Campbell noted.