Volume 9, Number 4 March 2016
Schools on Spring Break
Sick Leave | ADE Re-Certification Event | W-2 Forms | Voluntary Transfers | Calendars | Keep Certificate Current | Certified Exclusionary | ASRS Rate | Arrange for a Sub | Policy Review | Financial Health Fair
As a result of the meet and confer process, changes have been made to Article 31 of the Working Conditions and Benefits for Certificated employees.
Employees shall be reimbursed for unused sick leave days upon termination/interruption of service to the District by retirement, resignation, death, or reduction in force under the following provisions, providing funding for reimbursement is available:
1. Employees, with at least five (5) continuous years of service with the district, who terminate by retirement and who notify the District of their retirement prior to the following deadlines shall be reimbursed at sixty (60.00) dollars per day for up to two hundred forty (240) days:
a.) Retire at the end of the contract term: Notify by March 1 * For the 15-16 school year, this deadline has been extended to March 31st
b.) Retire at the end of the first semester: Notify by October 1
Employees with at least five (5) continuous years of service with the district, who terminate by retirement and fail to notify the district by the deadlines outlined above, shall be reimbursed at fifty-five (55.00) dollars per day for up to two hundred twenty (220) days.
2. Employees who terminate by resignation, notify the district of their resignation by March 1, work through their contract end date and have at least five (5) continuous years of service with the District at the conclusion of the individual's last year of employment shall be reimbursed at sixty (60.00) dollars per day for up to two hundred twenty (220) days. Employees who terminate by resignation and have at least five (5) continuous years of service with the District at the conclusion of the individual’s year of employment, but do not work through their contract end date or do not notify the district of their resignation by March 1, shall be reimbursed at fifty-five (55.00) dollars per day for up to two hundred twenty (220) days. Total years of service are reduced by unpaid, non-FMLA leaves of absence that exceed a full semester. * For the 15-16 school year, this deadline has been extended to March 31st.
MPS is hosting a re-certification event with the Arizona Department of Education, April 13, 2016 2-5 p.m. Curriculum Services Center, Board Room, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa. Employees may submit their complete renewal applications with the appropriate fees (checks or money orders only) to ADE officials and receive their new teaching certificates immediately. Human Resources staff will also be on hand to roll your fingerprints, verify professional development activities and answer your questions on this process.
All employees may view and print their pay-stubs and W-2s through a secure website. Pay-stubs and the W-2 form will be stored on this site for future reference. This service not only provides MPS employees with a convenient way to access payroll information, but also conserves MPS resources by limiting printing and mailing costs. Those employees who do not have direct deposit continue to receive live checks and can also view their pay-stubs on the secure website.
Go to the Payroll Department website and click on "MPS Pay Portal" for your pay stubs and 2015 W-2. Be sure to close the Internet browser when you are finished to ensure a safe log-out. If you have problems registering, you can contact the Payroll office at 472-0444.
Mesa Public Schools, along with school districts across the state and nation, has experienced challenges in recent years in the recruitment and hiring of teachers. Due to reduced applicant pools and delays in our own hiring practices, we are missing out on qualified candidates to fill our teaching vacancies. In collaboration with the Mesa Education Association (MEA) and with the intent of changing this hiring trend, the district is expediting the voluntary transfer process for the spring 2016 hiring season.
As soon as obligatory transfers are placed in specific instructional areas (e.g. grades K-6, secondary math, special education, Montessori), schools will proceed with posting existing vacancies for the voluntary transfer process. Administrators will be permitted to interview outside candidates at the same time they interview voluntary transfer requests. As in the past, administrators are required to interview all qualified employees who request a voluntary transfer. If a list of outside candidates is requested, the administrator must also interview a minimum of three qualified outside candidates prior to recommending an applicant for the position.
On Tuesday, March 8, we will begin the voluntary transfer process for Growing Up Successfully (GUS), Montessori, secondary math and science, preschool regular education and grades pre-K through 12 special education. Postings become active at midnight on Monday and close at midnight on Wednesday. Teachers must apply for the voluntary transfer position during the 48-hour window to receive an interview. These same timelines will be applied to all voluntary postings in subsequent weeks. There will be no voluntary postings the week of spring break.
Visit the site Voluntary Transfer Instructions for Certificated Employees for instructions on how to access and request an interview for a voluntary transfer position. Exclusionary employees (one-semester- or one-year-only contracts) may not participate in the voluntary transfer process unless they have been “rehired” from exclusion for the new school year. If you are interested in a voluntary transfer, you should access the directions referred to above and regularly visit the voluntary transfer posting site shared in the instructions. Voluntary postings will continue through May 10. If you need assistance with this process, please contact Yvette Orozco (x20412) or Mary Goetz (x20430).
Calendars for the 2016-2017 school year for all employee groups have been updated and are published on the Human Resources website.
All certificated employees must have a valid Arizona certificate properly recorded with the Human Resources Department. The certification must meet both No Child Left Behind (NCLB) highly qualified and Arizona Department of Education (ADE) certification guidelines for the position for which they have been hired. Additionally, all certificated employees must possess a valid fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Fingerprinting division.
Failure to keep a teaching certificate current will result in the termination of employment as a certificated employee and placement into a substitute status which results in the termination of all contract related benefits. An expired or invalid FP card can result in having a substitute placed in the teacher's classroom during the student day. Employees will be responsible for the cost of the substitute while waiting for the card to be updated. For details, refer to Governing Board policy, GCA and the accompanying regulation.
Human Resources will work to assist employees in tracking the status of their certificates and FP cards. However, it is the responsibility of the employee to monitor the expiration date of those items.
To update your FP card bring the following items to Human Resources to process your fingerprint application:
- A cashier's check or money order, made out to Arizona DPS for $67.00 (cash or personal checks will not be accepted)
- Photo ID that includes demographic information (driver's license or ID issued by the motor vehicle division or passport)
Human Resources will provide the application packet, roll your prints and deliver your application to DPS. You can anticipate a 4-6 week window of time for the application to be processed and an updated card issued.
To update your certificate, Ginger McCarty is available to count your professional development hours and provide you with the total payment due to ADE.
If you are an exclusionary status certificated employee, your contract will include the following statement: “This contract is for the limited period of the 20015 - 2016 school year only. There is no expectation of employment beyond this contract period.”
There are a variety of reasons for which you may have been hired on an exclusionary status contract. If you are an exclusionary employee, you will be sent a letter from the Governing Board in April confirming your employment status. If you are not sure of your status, you may review your employment contract for this information as well. If you are still not sure, you may ask your administrator or call Human Resources. The Human Resources Department will make every effort in assisting you with employment opportunities. Following the placement of obligatory transfers, we will provide principals with names of exclusionary employees and outside candidates for the positions for the positions they have posted.
The Board for the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) has adopted the contribution rate for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Effective July 1, 2016 the total contribution rate, including retirement and long term disability contributions, will be 11.48% for employees who meet the criteria for active membership. Currently, the total contribution rate for employees who meet criteria for active membership is 11.47%.
Early reporting of planned absences in SmartFindExpress can increase the likelihood of securing a quality substitute. Many substitute teachers utilize a feature in SmartFindExpress that blocks the system from calling them for any same-day assignments. This limits the number of substitutes that are available to be called in the morning call out.
The use of substitute teachers will typically increase in the third quarter. It is imperative that planned absences get posted well in advance, not the night before or the day of the absence. Teachers have the ability to report absences up to 300 days in advance.
To arrange for a substitute teacher online CLICK HERE or call SmartFindExpress at (480) 498-6558.
If you are a new teacher and you have not registered for a PIN, please do so immediately.
Registration instructions for new teachers:
- Call the system phone number at (480) 498-6558.
- Enter your Access ID followed by the (*) key
- Enter your Access ID again when it asks you for your PIN followed by the (*) key
- Record your name followed by the (*) key
- You will be asked to select a new PIN. Enter a PIN with at least (6) digits in length followed by the star (*) key
GBG: District and Staff Participation in Political Activities
With election season in full swing, it is important for all employees to know what is and is not permitted in policy and regulation GBG.
Policy forbids influencing the outcome of an election. The district and persons acting on behalf of the district must not use its employees, equipment, materials, buildings, or other resources to influence the outcome of an election.
An employee acting as an agent of, or working in an official capacity for, the district must not give pupils written materials to influence the outcome of an election or to advocate support for or opposition to pending or proposed legislation.
Employees must not use the authority of their positions to influence the vote or political activities of any subordinate employee.
Regulation provides specific examples. the regulation includes guidelines issued by the Arizona attorney general on:
- advocacy in a private capacity
- political apparel and accessories
- private vehicles
- public forums
- district responses to questions about ballot measures
- campaign signs
- use of premises by outside groups
- use of position to influence subordinates
- use of school mailboxes, phones and email
- students and election or legislative materials
- and candidates and their representatives
MPS policy does not infringe on constitutional rights. This policy and its administrative regulation will be construed so as to not infringe upon an employee's civil or political liberties as guaranteed by the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions. Employees who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary action as set forth in the Governing Board policy and regulation. For complete information, CLICK HERE for the MPS policy manual.
The Benefits Department will hold its annual Financial Health Fair on Wednesday, April 20 from 3:15 pm - 7:30 pm at the Student Services Center located at 1025 N. Country Club Drive.
The Fair will feature a vendor area and workshops on such topics as Wills & Trusts, Budgeting and Health Savings Account information. Workshops will begin at 3:30 pm.
** A correction was made to this article after it was originally published.
Human Resources Matters is published by the Human Resources Department of Mesa Public Schools, an equal opportunity organization. If an employee feels that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or marital status, the employee should contact the district's compliance officer: Pete Lesar, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources (480) 472-0412.