The Putnam County School Board approved 33 new policies, policy changes or updates at last week’s meeting, a result of legislative mandates this year in Nashville.
Director Of Schools Corby King said the school system works with the legal team at the Tennessee School Board Association to assess the system’s policies as compared to the legislative directives. That work begins in May once the annual session ends. Sample policies are created and then local officials tweak them.
“Lots of these policies, we had things in place, but it just tweaked certain things,” King said. “It changed some of the language in them. But then there’s also some new policies we added, so that’s why there’s so many this month. It’s a large number of policies. It’s an unusual amount, but it’s just to bring us into compliance with what’s now in state law and TSBA.”
The policies cover all aspects of school from Library Materials, Corporal Punishment, and Attendance to the Employment of Retirees and Emergency Preparedness Plan. The school board spent more than an hour at a work session last week exploring the changes.
“I remind our administrators quite frequently when we meet, if it’s a situation and you’re not sure what it is, do a search in policy, it’s probably there,” King said. “It’s covered, whatever the question may be, it’s not always clear. It can be written a little vague at times. But almost everything we deal with, it’s covered somewhere in policy.”
King said the policy work may be the biggest benefit of being a School Board Association member. He said the legal team reviews all aspects of new legislative mandates to help individual school systems understand the intent.
“We have access to their legal services so if we have questions about policy or things, what they mean, how to interpret them, they have a staff attorneys at TSBA, and we have access to email them or call them, ‘hey, can you help clarify this policy for us?’,” King said.
That can also save the school system money, King said.