published Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Rhea County to pay school cafeteria workers for days missed due to winter weather

By Tom Davis, Correspondent
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    Jerry Levengood, the director of schools in Rhea County, Tenn.

DAYTON, Tenn. -- Rhea County school cafeteria employees will be paid for five work days missed because of weather this winter, school board members decided.

School Director Jerry Levengood said late last week that the request came from food service Director Sally Lane on behalf of workers who are paid hourly.

"They don't get paid when we don't have school. We have 10 days built in (for weather-related school closings), and we've taken them now," he said.

But board Chairman Dale Harris asked why cafeteria workers should be paid for missed work when teacher aides are not. And board member Bill Davault asked about custodians.

Levengood responded that full-time aides are salaried, so their pay is not affected. Custodians, he said, "have a certain number of hours they can work, so if they cannot work during the year, they can work in the summer."

Lane said the cafeteria workers are the only ones paid hourly.

"It's tough on them this year," she said. "I feel like (the cafeteria budget) can afford to pay for five days, but I'm not sure about the other five."

Levengood pointed out that if any more days are missed because of weather they will have to be made up, so all employees will be affected.

In other matters, board members agreed to adopt a nine-week grading period in the 2011-12 school year. Report cards now are sent out every six weeks. Levengood said principals have asked for the change, and he said a midterm report would be sent home for parents to see. He pointed out that parents already have daily access to student grade reports by computer.

The board also agreed to fund construction of a baseball/softball field at Spring City Middle School, at a cost of about $75,000, and an indoor pitching/batting facility at the high school, at a cost of about $65,000. Athletics Committee Chairman Bimbo McCawley said these projects would not interfere with plans to improve the high school track.

Tom Davis is based in Rhea County. E-mail him at tsdavis@volstate.net.

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