MARIETTA — Employees of the Marietta City School District could soon be able to take more sick days than what they are already allowed in the case of serious illnesses, pending the school board’s approval next week.

The average teacher in the district receives 13.5 sick days per year, which roll over from year to year, according to Superintendent Grant Rivera.

The Marietta school district allows its employees to donate their unused paid sick days to a bank of sick days, which can be used by other employees, upon meeting certain criteria, Rivera said. The problem, he said, is that currently, each employee can only donate one day to the bank and each bank is school-specific.

That means that if an employee depleted the one-day donations from each of their colleagues and needed more paid sick days, they could not take them.

The superintendent recommended the school board approve updates to the leave policy, which he said would establish a districtwide bank from which employees could be approved for 90 days past their earned sick leave to allow for the treatment of cancer or other serious illnesses.

He also said under the new policy, the number of additional days the employee could receive would be determined by a seven-member committee of teachers and other staff from all levels in the district. If they were approved and needed more than the additional 90, those days could be approved by the same committee, Rivera said. The old policy leaves decisions for additional sick leave in the hands of the employee’s administrators.

In short, Rivera said, the updated policy frees employees who may need ongoing treatment from burdensome restrictions.

In an email to all district staff, Rivera, whose 4-year-old daughter, Reese, beat cancer as an infant, said he asked the board to review and approve the updated policy because the district should be more flexible in times of difficulty.

“In my humble opinion (and that of a cancer dad), we need to do better,” he wrote. “Life doesn’t afford us the convenience of scheduling when severe medical illnesses occur.”

The board could approve the updates at their regular meeting next Tuesday.

In other business, board members at their Tuesday meeting unanimously approved a $65,048.19 contract with Russell Ventures to renovate the media center at West Side Elementary School and establish a learning commons in its place.

Board member Angela Orange was absent from the meeting.

Next week, the board will consider approving:

♦ Updates to policies regarding the district’s wellness program, professional learning opportunities and dress and grooming standards;

♦ A $226,671.09 contract with Russell Ventures to provide furniture for the new classroom and meeting spaces in the College and Career Academy;

♦ A $179,821.30 purchase of lab computers for the College and Career Academy ($93,805.30 of which is reimbursable from the Georgia Department of Education);

♦ A $18,460 contract with E. Dennis A/C, Inc., the low-bidder, to replace the HVAC unit in the West Side Elementary School media center;

♦ The use of $40,000 from a Lockheed Martin grant for the Lockheed Elementary School STEM Innovation Lab (iLab) project;

♦ A $23,582 renewal of Safari Montage software for use at all Marietta City School District schools;

♦ A $119,804 contract with PlaySouth Playground Creators, LLC, to provide playground design-build services at Dunleith Elementary; and

♦ A list of materials as surplus and release them for sale, recycling or disposal.

The Marietta school board meets next Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the board room at 250 Howard St., Marietta.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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