Pubdate: Tue, 11 Aug 2009
Source: Cartersville Daily Tribune,The  (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Cartersville Daily Tribune
Author: Jon Gargis, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Those seeking a job or promotion within Bartow County Schools may soon
face a drug test if the system's school board approves a proposed
policy next week.

Board members last month gave the nod to the first reading of Board
Policy GAMA-B, which would require job applicants to submit to
pre-employment, post-offer drug tests. The board will consider the
policy's final reading at its business meeting Monday.

Those tested under the policy would include new applicants and current
employees who apply for a vacancy in the district, and would apply to
all professional and non-professional, regular full-time and regular
part-time positions, including summer school teachers and paid
non-teacher coach/adviser positions. The tests would be administered
within 48 hours after an offer of employment is made.

Applicants who fail to receive satisfactory test results would be
disqualified from further consideration for their position and would
not be allowed to apply for another position covered under the policy
for one year.

School board members also would be tested under the policy. But board
members and district officials discussed the board member testing
issue and other parts of the proposed policy at Monday night's work

Board member Matt Shultz asked Board Attorney Boyd Pettit if board
members under the policy would be tested when they seek office or
re-election, when they are elected or sworn in or any other time.

"I think it's voluntary," Pettit said. "You are not an employee. You
cannot make it a condition of qualifying nor a condition of being
elected, in my opinion. It is voluntary on the part of the members of
the board."

"It's kind of more symbolic, that we're taking a step out in front and
being leaders in the community," board Vice President Roger Maier said.

Pettit said the policy does not spell out any action that would be
taken should a board member fail a drug test. "I don't think it's
enforceable against a board member who is elected from a district by
the voters in the county," he said.

Pettit questioned the board about the policy's 48-hour span in which
potential employees would be required to take their test.

Officials wondered if the clock would begin when board members approve
during a meeting one's hire or promotion, or if it would start when
the applicant is notified that their hire was approved by the board,
or at another starting point.

"I think I'm open to interpreting that either way, so long as we have
it clearly defined," Shultz said.

Pettit said the time frame could encompass hours where having the test
administered might be difficult.

"With that time frame, somebody's got to make sure that if you make an
offer to an employee -- say you're offering an assistant principal a
principalship -- if you make that offer at 3 o'clock Friday afternoon,
then they have 48 hours in which to take the test," Pettit said. "If
they don't, they're not in compliance, and under the policy, it would
be viewed as a failure to comply, and they would no longer be eligible
for that position."

Pettit said the clock could start when board members approve a hire,
or when an applicant is notified of the board's decision and offered
the job, but that the latter would require that documentation is kept
that shows the time the potential employee is given an offer.
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