Rock Hill board airs cooks#039; work

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

When the cook is finished cooking, what does she do then?

This was a question discussed at Tuesday night's Rock Hill School Board meeting.

At last month's meeting, former board member Fred Wells submitted a written request for an answer to that question. Wells' wife is a cook in the district. He said recently cooks were told that even if they are finished with their work, they may not leave work until they have clocked eight hours.

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"When I was on the board it was policy that when the cooks finished their work, they could go home and still be paid for eight hours," Wells said. "When did this change?"

Wells asked the board last month for an answer. The board policy is that written comments and questions will get a written response at the next board meeting. Wells got his written response Tuesday night, but was not happy with the answer. He spoke during the audience participation portion of the board meeting and asked again why cooks have for years been allowed to leave when the work is done, only to find that a new school year meant a new change.

Superintendent Lloyd Evans responded that it was never a written board policy that cooks got to leave early if they finished their work early.

"That's not in the policy manual anywhere, and I think it would be illegal," Evans said. "I don't follow anyone around to see when they're leaving, but the contract with OAPSE states that cooks are to be paid for 187 days each year, 180 work days and seven holidays, and are to be paid for four or eight hours. I would not recommend anything outside that."

"But when I was on the board you said that was policy," Wells countered. "When did that change?"

"There's been no such policy," Evans replied.

"But you had told me before that when bus drivers get done with their job they can go home, and when cooks get done with their job they can go home," Wells countered. "No it isn't in writing but it's been done for more than 20 years, until now."

"It's been part of past practice," board member Wanda Jenkins agreed.

"But it's not in the policy manual," Evans said.

"So we've got two policies," Wells shot back. "We've got board policy and Lloyd policy."

Also Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to create and post four nine-month janitor positions. Two would be assigned to the high school, and one each to the middle and elementary school.