College affirms stance for nursing mothers | News

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Kilgore College trustees approved several policies at Monday’s board meeting, including a policy clarification for nursing mothers employed by KC who need to express breast milk while on the job.

Trustee Karol Pruett, chair of the Policy & Personnel Committee, discussed four policies with the board.

The first policy concerns the right of KC employees who are nursing mothers and their right to express breast milk while at work. This is an update to the college’s standing policy on the matter and contained more specific language.

“Kilgore College supports the practice of expressing breast milk, and will make reasonable accommodations for the needs of employees who express breast milk. Kilgore College may not suspend, or terminate the employment of, or otherwise discriminate against, an employee because the employee has asserted her rights under this policy,” the update read.

The update also states the college must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work. It also states such employees must coordinate an appropriate break time for this activity in advance and must be compensated for this break time. However, if employees use non-scheduled break times for this purpose, they are not required to be compensated for that time.

A list of approved locations for nursing mothers to express breast milk is available from the college’s office of human resources.

Pruett also detailed a new college policy regarding depository (banking) contracts.

“The Board shall select one or more depositories for banking services in accordance with Education Code 51.003, through a competitive bid process,” the policy reads.

The policy states the board will seek competitive bids for depository services every ten years, or earlier at the Board’s discretion. These contracts will have a maximum length of 10 years, a depository institution currently under contract with KC is allowed to submit a bid for consideration and the board can extend or renew a current contract if it’s in the best interest of KC.

“We have gone out for bids for 5-year depository contracts. The bids are going to be in, they’ll close on Aug. 31. The board will get a spreadsheet of those bids and we’ll vote on that and then we’ll transition in January if we do change things,” Pruett said.

Pruett also reviewed the college’s new cell phone policy, which states that employees may be issued cell phones for work use but those phones and any information they contain are college property, subject to open records requests under the Public Information Act.

“That just says if KC provides someone a cell phone for work, it belongs to the college and everything on that phone is subject to open records. That is a new policy,” Pruett said.

The final policy was a clarification on an existing college practice regarding the classification of college employees who are exempt or non-exempt from certain requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FSLA do not apply to any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity. Thus, these employees are classified as “exempt” employees. All other employees are classified as “non-exempt” and are subject to minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA,” the policy reads.

Pruett said the policy was a means of codifying a practice the college was already engaged in.

“This is a new policy but it hasn’t changed what we’re doing. We’re going with federal guidelines on that, we just didn’t have it in writing.”

All four policies were approved by the board.

The meeting also included a discussion of the sale of a Smith County property of which the college owns a portion.

Staci Killingsworth, of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP law firm, described the situation and said the law firm she represents “helps collect delinquent taxes for Kilgore College.”

“This particular piece of property is in the Smith County portion that Kilgore College is in as well. We filed a lawsuit some years ago on some delinquent taxes on this particular piece of property,” Killingsworth said.

The firm took a judgment on the property on Feb. 22, 2018.

The property, described as all of Block 4, Dave and Angelina Choice Land situated in the C.A. Lovejoy Survey, Abstract 580 in Smith County, was put up for bids in a sheriff’s sale in Smith County following the judgment.

The sale took place on May 1, 2018, and no bids were filed. The lack of bids caused the property to be “struck off”, transferring its ownership to the entities which accrue taxes from it. After a property is struck off, Smith County accepts bids at 75 percent of the initial bid value for one year.

A bid was then made in the amount of $15,513.39, down from the opening bid of $20,684.53.

“Under this bid, Kilgore College would receive $1,143.87. Under the original judgment amount, that amount was $1513.58,” Killingsworth said, noting the property sale would resume the flow of tax revenue from the property to KC.

“It does put the property back on the tax roll and gets it productive again to generating taxes in the district.”

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