• Attendance Incentive/Retiree Buy Back Information 12/17/14

    Posted by Amanda Brim at 12/17/2014

    PfISD Staff, 

    One final reminder to contact Diana Clark (diana.clark@pfisd.net) before the close of business Dec. 19 if you want to reclassify any absences taken in the first semester of this school year from local to state days in order to meet the eligibility requirements for the attendance incentive or for retiree buy back purposes. 
    Below you can read all the previous communication distributed to staff regarding these programs. If after reviewing that information you still have questions about either of the programs, please email communications@pfisd.net. Questions about your leave balance or how to make changes to the way absences from this school year are classified should be directed to Diana Clark (diana.clark@pfisd.net).
    Thank you!
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  • Attendance Incentive/Retiree Buy Back Information 12/04/14

    Posted by Amanda Brim at 12/4/2014
    PfISD Staff, 
    As we previously shared, the Pflugerville Board of Trustees approved an attendance incentive for teachers and instructional educational associates who require a substitute. The Board also reviewed a proposal regarding the buying back of days upon an employee’s retirement, for which all retirees, regardless of the position they held in the district, are eligible. The Board is expected to vote on the retiree proposal on Dec. 18.
    Employees who wish to change absences taken this semester classified as “local” to “state” days should email Diana Clark (diana.clark@pfisd.net) with their request. Only absences taken this semester are eligible to be changed; absences from previous school years are not. 
    Going forward, AESOP, the system which tracks absences, will offer two options for employees to choose from – local and state. It will be up to the employee to select the desired type of absence. 
    As a reminder, in order to be eligible for the attendance incentive, an employee can use up to five state days and zero local days throughout the course of the school year. Retirees must have a minimum of 22 local days to be eligible to participate in the retiree buy back program. 
    Employee Access (https://itccs.esc13.net:3074/wempacc?distid=227904) displays the number of remaining leave days an employee has, although absences taken in the current pay period will not be reflected until the next month (ex. leave taken in November will not appear in Employee Access until after the Dec. pay cycle).
    Contact Diana Clark via email (diana.clark@pfisd.net) with questions about your leave balance. Please direct questions about the buy back programs to communications@pfisd.net
    All requests to change absences taken this semester from “local” to “state” must be received by Diana Clark (diana.clark@pfisd.net) by Dec. 19, 2014.
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  • Attendance Incentive/Retiree Buy Back Information 11/21/14

    Posted by Amanda Brim at 11/21/2014
    I hope you have plans for rest and relaxation with your loved ones next week! I know everyone is going full speed, doing your best for our students and each other, so it is important to enjoy a little time off when we can. We have two sons off at college, and it will be nice to have them join me, my wife and our daughter, who is a high school freshman, for some family time. 
    At Thursday night’s board meeting the Board heard our recommendation to implement a staff attendance incentive pilot program. After careful consideration, the Board approved our proposal and we plan to launch the program in January. 
    As we previously shared, this 18-month pilot program is focused on classroom teachers and educational associates whose job is instructionally focused and requires a substitute when they are absent. Under the program, which we are calling the Student Achievement Initiative, staff members in these two job categories will have the opportunity to sell back to the district unused local days if certain attendance criteria are met throughout the year. 
    As I stated before, we all understand life happens and sometimes it is necessary to be absent. As educators we also know that no matter how much preparation is taken, student instruction is impacted when those providing the daily instruction are gone. Our goal with this pilot is two-fold – increase the attendance of those staff members who provide that daily instruction, and in turn improve student achievement across the district. 
    We received positive feedback from many staff members, along with some questions about why certain groups would not be eligible for the program. I want to reiterate – we value the work of every single employee in this district, and recognize how important each of you are to the success of our students. 
    We know there are countless staff members who make a difference for students every single day. The final recommendation hinged on finding a balance between providing an incentive the district could financially maintain over time and targeting those positions we believed would have the greatest impact on instruction. An argument could be made to include many additional types of positions in the program, and we carefully considered all the angles before bringing our proposal forward to the Board, and sharing the details broadly with all staff. 
    The Board also heard additional information regarding our proposed policy changes for the district’s payment for local days of retiring staff members, and we expect them to vote on that recommendation in December. 
    When we return from Thanksgiving Break, we will provide additional information about the Student Achievement Initiative, including some FAQs and how to change local absences taken this semester to state days, if employees so desire. 
    With deep appreciation and thankfulness for all you do, 
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  • Attendance Incentive/Retiree Buy Back Information 11/07/14

    Posted by Amanda Brim at 11/7/2014
    As you know, in addition to our day-to-day work of providing outstanding opportunities for our 24,000 students, each day we work toward ensuring all our instructional practices are rooted in research and supported by data. From retooling our curriculum to rethinking how we approach professional development, our team is “constructively dissatisfied” and always searching for ways to improve. We encourage that in our students, and we expect no less from ourselves. 
    We know outstanding instruction provided by our talented teachers and instructional educational associates is the most effective way we can impact student achievement. Most teachers would tell you if they miss one day of class, it truly impacts two days of instruction, as it is often necessary to re-teach at least some of the information from the day missed, in addition to covering the planned instruction on the day the teacher returns. 
    Many instructional staff members record nearly 10 absences per year, using their full allotment of state and local days. When you also consider the days missed for professional development or other work-related responsibilities, there is little doubt classroom instruction is impacted by staff absences. 
    Our challenge is clear: If we believe the most impactful thing we can do to ensure the success of our students is keep teachers and instructional educational associates in the classroom, how can we help make that happen? One way is to change the delivery of professional development, which is something we are now doing and will continue to refine. 
    Another critical piece is instructional staff missing work due to personal reasons. Now please hear me say clearly – we know life happens. Above and beyond anything we want you to take care of yourself and take care of your families. 
    Our goal was to find a win-win opportunity, which would encourage instructional staff to limit their absences, but not impact the number of local days provided to staff by the district. We believe we’ve found that win-win with a plan to pay eligible staff members who choose to sell back unused local days at the end of the school year. Further, we are recommending adjusting the district’s policy for buying back days from staff when they retire. 
    We believe both ideas will be positive for staff members, while furthering our goal of providing outstanding instruction in every classroom, every day. 

    The Plan
    At Thursday’s Board of Trustees Workshop meeting, we presented the Board with information regarding a pilot program intended to boost staff attendance. If approved by the Board, in January we will embark on an 18-month pilot program focused on classroom teachers and educational associates whose job is instructionally focused and requires a substitute when they are absent. Under the program, which we are calling the Student Achievement Initiative, staff members in these two job categories will have the opportunity to sell back to the district unused local days if certain attendance criteria are met throughout the year. 
    Eligibility for Student Achievement Initiative
    To be eligible to participate in the program, staff members must meet the following criteria:
    1. The employee must be a teacher or educational associate working with children in the classroom.
    2. The employee’s position normally requires a substitute if they are absent.
    3. The employee cannot use more than 5 State days per school year.
    4. The employee cannot use any local leave days during the school year.
    Employees who meet all of these criteria are eligible to sell up to 5 of their unused local days back to the district. Educational associates will be paid $80 per day and teachers will be paid $200 for each unused local day up to 5 days. Unsold days will continue to accumulate. 
    Eligible employees who choose to sell their days will be paid for their days during the normal payroll cycle in June. Days the employee chooses to sell will be removed from their accumulated local leave balance.
    Change in Policy for Retirees
    We believe one of our district’s greatest strengths is the longevity of service from our staff members. Once people join our district, they never want to leave! In recognition of that dedication, we are proposing a change to our current policy regarding reimbursement for local leave when employees retire from our district. This is not part of the 18-month pilot, but a change in policy that will remain in effect. 
    Per our local Board policy [DEC (Local)], an employee who retires from employment with the district shall be eligible for reimbursement for local leave under the following conditions:
    1. The employee retires in accordance with Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) guidelines.
    2. The employee provides advance written notice of intent to retire from employment.
    3. The employee has at least four years of service with the district.
    4. The employee has at least 22 days of available local leave.
    Under our proposal, as long as a retiring employee meets these conditions, the district will now reimburse them for all unused local leave days. Currently, the district reimburses retiring employees for up to 50 unused local days. Additionally, we are recommending increasing eligible retirees’ daily reimbursement rate for unused local leave from $40 to $60 for non-exempt and from $75 to $150 for exempt employees.
    I know many of you will have questions, especially if your position isn’t included in the Student Achievement Initiative. I want to be up front with you and tell you we’ve had many difficult discussions about how to best implement this program and assure every staff member they are valued, while at the same time offering an attendance incentive that does not include all positions. It took me some time to get comfortable with this idea myself.
    This program is targeted where we believe our students and the district will see the greatest impact. And it is important to remember – no staff member is losing anything with this program. Just as with other incentives and stipends we offer, some staff members meet the eligibility requirements and others do not. 
    Please keep in mind, this is a pilot program, and we will be closely monitoring how staff attendance and student achievement are impacted over the next 18 months.  
    Becoming the Best
    As with any new approach to how we do business, I fully expect some bumps as the program is implemented, and I know we will face some who have differing opinions. And that is ok, but I will tell you – we aren’t going to let that stop us from trying new things. We are going to continue putting ourselves out there, looking for opportunities to improve, and doing the work to make PfISD the best it can be for you, for our students, and the community we serve. Through our work together, we are building a stronger district for our students, our True North. 
    Have questions? Email us at communications@pfisd.net and we will begin compiling frequently asked questions to be distributed to the team. 
    Responses to questions we anticipate:
    • The incentive program does not impact TRS.
    • Taxes will be taken out of the incentive payment. 
    • There will be a process to make changes to absences recorded in the first semester of this year to reclassify them from local days to state days. In the future, the employee will need to ensure the appropriate type of day is selected when an absence is recorded in order to maintain eligibility for the program. 
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