Tonight, in their first meeting of 2014, Bulloch County Board of Education members are slated to consider a policy change limiting what school employees may include in the signature block of emails.
Meeting at 6:30 p.m. at its headquarters on Williams Road, the board will also elect its chairman and vice chairman for the year and vote on the school calendar for 2014-15.
The proposed email rule is a carryover from the controversy about teachers’ religious expression that occupied much of a regular meeting and special meeting in December. The restriction would apply only to the “.k12” email accounts supplied by the school system. The proposed new section in the board’s Internet Acceptable Use Policy asserts that these accounts are property of the school district and are not personal accounts. It states that the signature block of an email should include only the employee’s name, title, school, mail and email addresses, phone number and fax number.
In a Dec. 11 letter on behalf of the board, attorney Susan Cox told Jeremiah Dys of the Liberty Institute that “such a policy will ensure that no particular viewpoint is expressed by anyone using the (.k12) email system.”
Members could adopt the revision tonight, table it or ask for changes.
However, the proposed 2014-15 school calendar is due for a vote, since it was discussed at the Dec. 19 meeting. The calendar shortens the Thanksgiving break from the previous full week to three days and extends class days past Memorial Day to May 29. These changes make room for additional professional development days — when students are off but teachers work — during the year.
The board also will adopt its own meeting schedule for 2014. The proposed schedule continues the current general pattern, with meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, with exceptions in November and December.
But the first business on the agenda is the election, by the eight board members, of their chairman and vice chairman for the year. Current Chairman Maurice Hill has held his post for two years, and Vice Chairman Mike Herndon for one year, but both have served their districts longer.