USE OF PUBLIC RESOURCES BY BOARD MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES

 

Restrictions on Use

 

No Board member or employee of Mitchell Public Schools shall use or authorize the use of his or her public office or any confidential information received through the holding of the public office to obtain financial gain, other than compensation provided by law, for himself or herself, a member of his or her immediate family, or a business with which the individual is associated.

 

No Board member or employee shall use or authorize the use of school district personnel, resources, property, or funds under his or her official care and control other than in accordance with prescribed constitutional, statutory, and regulatory procedures or use such items, other than compensation provided by law, for personal financial gain.

 

No Board member or employee shall use or authorize the use of school resources for the purpose of campaigning for or against the nomination or election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question. For purposes of this restriction, "school resources" means personnel, property, resources, or funds under the official care and control of the Board member or employee.

 

Authorized Uses

 

The uses described below are not authorized by employees, and violate this policy, where an employee's use: (1) interferes with the conduct of school business; (2) interferes with the performance of the employee's duties and responsibilities; (3) is contrary to another Board policy or a rule or directive set forth in an employee handbook or other employee communication device; (4) is contrary to a supervisor's directive; or (5) the use is for the employee's personal financial gain or potential for potential for personal financial gain.

 

Incidental or De Minimis Use: Use of school resources by a Board member or employee which is incidental or de minimis does not constitute a violation of this policy.

 

Personal Use as Part of Compensation: Use of school resources for personal purposes is authorized by this policy if:

 

  1. the use of the resource for personal purposes is part of the employee's compensation provided in an employment contract or is consistent with this policy; and

 

  1. the personal use of the resource as compensation is reported in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and taxes, if any, are paid by the affected employee.

 

Approved _______________ Reviewed: 02/13/2017 Revised _________________

 

Employees who engage in such personal use shall, upon request of the Board of Education or the administration, provide evidence to establish that the compensation has been reported and taxes paid as required by the Tax Code.

 

School Vehicles: Use of a school vehicle by a Board member or employee to travel to a designated location or the home of the Board member or employee is permissible when the primary purpose of the travel serves a school district purpose. Such use is authorized by this policy. No travel other than directly to the school related trip destination shall occur, however, when students are in the vehicle or if the vehicle is a school bus.

 

Communication Devices: A Board member or employee may use a telecommunication system, a cellular telephone, an electronic handheld device, or a computer under the control of the school district for email, text messaging, a local call, or a long distance call, to a child at home, a teacher, a doctor, a day care center, a baby sitter, a family member, or any other person to inform any such person of an unexpected schedule change or for other essential personal business. Any such communication shall be kept to a minimum and shall not interfere with the conduct of school business or the performance of an employee's duties.

 

A Board member or employee shall be responsible for payment or reimbursement of charges (e.g. long distance charges), if any, that directly results from any such communication. The Board member or employee shall promptly report any such communication that results in an expense to the School District to the Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee. The Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee shall establish procedures for reimbursement of charges incurred as a result of such communications.

 

Use of the District's internet system for such communications shall not be permitted to the extent such use violates the terms of the E Rate program, which restricts use of the internet system to "educational purposes."

 

Election Issues: A Board member or the Superintendent, in the normal course of his or her duties, may use school resources to research and prepare materials to assist the School Board in determining the effect of a ballot question on the School District.

 

Mass mailings, mass duplication, or other mass communications at school expense for the purpose of qualifying, supporting, or opposing a ballot question is not permitted. Mass communications does not include placing public records demonstrating the consequences of the passage or defeat of a ballot question affecting the School District on its existing websites.

 

A Board member or employee may campaign for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question or the nomination or election of a candidate when no school resources are used. An employee shall not engage in campaign activity for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question or the nomination or election of a candidate while on duty time.

 

A Board member or authorized employee may make school facilities available for campaign purposes if the identity of the candidate or the support for or opposition to the ballot question is not a factor in making the facilities available or a factor in determining the cost or conditions of use.

 

The School Board may discuss and vote upon a resolution supporting or opposing a ballot question.

 

A Board member may respond to specific inquiries by the press or the public as to his or her opinion regarding a ballot question or provide information in response to a request for information.

 

A Board member or employee may identify himself or herself by his or her official title when communicating about a ballot question. Employees who do so shall clearly communicate that their communication is their personal opinion and does not reflect the position or views of the Board of Education or the School District unless express authorization is given by the Board of Education or the Superintendent.

 

Legal Reference:                     Neb. Statute 49-14,101.01 and 49-14,101.02