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LMSD Employee Handbook 2024-2025

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 1: Compensation

 

Direct Deposit

All employees are encouraged to use direct deposit. Forms may be obtained from the Human Resources Department. If you need assistance in setting up direct deposit or have extenuating circumstances regarding direct deposit, please contact the Business Office. 

Payroll Information

Payday will generally be the 5th and 20th of each month. If the date falls on a weekend, payday will be the previous workday. Paycheck/check stubs can be printed through the Employee Portal. If an error is noticed on a paycheck amount or deduction, the error must be reported to the Payroll Clerk as soon as possible so corrections can be made.

Salaries shall be paid in twenty-four (24) payment periods. For employees who do not work year-round, paychecks for June, July, and August will be paid on June 20th. Twelve (12) month employees will receive paychecks on the 5th and 20th of each month. Contract length will determine each employee’s initial payday in each fiscal year.

The District is required by law to make certain deductions from your paycheck. Deductions include federal and state taxes, Social Security, Medicare, New Mexico Educators Retirement, and Retiree Health Care. These and other employee-elected deductions are noted on your paycheck stub. Employees are encouraged to review their pay stubs carefully on the first payday of the school year and the calendar year for possible errors.

Extra Duty Pay

Licensed school instructors who volunteer for noon duty will receive two (2) days off as the replacement for noon duty time. Employees will notify the building principal at least three (3) days in advance of their intention to use this earned leave. The increment or supplemental pay for ‘extra noon duty’ will be at $100/day for a total of two (2) days (see Board Policy G-2400 Professional Staff Supplementary Pay Plans).

Any increment/supplemental duties assigned to an employee for which pay is received may be modified or discontinued at any time by the District. An employee who requests to relinquish a paid increment/supplemental duty must do so with a written request and the subsequent approval of the Superintendent. This policy does not create any continued contractual obligation to any employee; employees shall hold no expectancy of continuing employment in any assigned incremental/supplemental duty (see Board Policy G-2450 GCBD Professional Staff Fringe Benefits).

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Exempt and Nonexempt Employees

Employee Designation: The terms “exempt” or “non-exempt” refer to whether or not the employee is exempt from being paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week. “Non-exempt” employees include hourly clerical, child nutrition, maintenance, custodial, and instructional assistants. If these employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek, they must be compensated for the additional hours at one & one-half times their regular hourly rate. “Exempt” employees include administrators, ancillary staff, certified professionals, and specialized staff members. These exempt employees do not receive overtime compensation.

Overtime Pay for Non-Exempt Employees

Before an employee works beyond 40 hours in a workweek (38.25 hours for Instructional Assistants), a supervisor must give permission in advance. Working without permission may be considered misconduct.

Resignation/Leaving the District

Any staff member who resigns from the District must give adequate notice and complete the necessary paperwork, submit satisfactory payment for outstanding debts owed to the District, and return all district property. Failure to do so may result in adjustments in compensation, which may be owed to the employee by the District.  

Retirement

The Educational Retirement Act (ERA) requires mandatory retirement contributions. Temporary employees who work less than a quarter of the calendar days and students are excluded. Employees contribute a percentage of their total earnings as established by the New Mexico Legislature. Employee contributions are refunded without interest on deposits prior to July 1, 1971, and with interest on deposits after July 1, 1971, to those who leave employment covered under the New Mexico Retirement Act.

Refunds are not automatic; forms for a refund of employee contributions are available in the Business Office located in the District Administration Office. Employee contributions to the Retirement Act are deferred from income tax. Federal regulations require a 20% federal tax withholding. When the employee contributions are refunded, they will be subject to taxation in the year refunded. Requested refunds will be processed at the end of the quarter in which the employee terminates. Contact the benefits bookkeeper at the District Administration Building for additional information.

Salary Schedule

A minimum of ninety-one (91) cumulative days shall be counted as a full year’s experience in the District. 

Certified Staff

Each teacher/licensed staff member will be responsible for the verification of his/her teaching experience in other school systems. All verification of experience must be in the Human Resources Department by October 1st to be reflected in that year's salary. Experience verification forms are available in the Human Resources Department. Also, an employee must complete a form for hours earned above his/her degree for pay purposes prior to October 1st in order for those hours to be reflected in that year's salary. Forms are available in the Human Resources Department. 

All college or university credits must have been earned at a college or university regionally accredited or approved by the New Mexico State Board of Education. The Human Resources Department must receive official transcripts or National Board Certification credentials by October 1 to be reflected in that year’s salary.

Daily rates are computed on the number of contract days that are indicated on the related salary schedule.

Salary schedules and individual information may be obtained from the Human Resources or Finance Departments. The LMS Salary Schedules are posted on the District’s website under the Human Resources Department.

Non-Certified Staff

Individual salary schedules can be obtained from the District’s website under the Human Resources Department.

Unemployment Compensation

Lovington Municipal Schools has New Mexico Unemployment Compensation Act coverage. The cost of the coverage is borne entirely by the District. The Employment Services Division determines eligibility based on the circumstances of each case and the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Act.

It is the responsibility of each supervisor to notify the Human Resources Department of each case of employee separation. The Employment Security Division allows the District a maximum of ten (10) days to respond to an unemployment claim. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure all data (letters of resignation, discharge notes, letters from the Employment Services Division) is immediately transmitted to the Human Resources Department.

 

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 2: Benefits

 

School Cafeteria Availability

All employees are invited to eat in the school cafeteria but will be charged the published adult meal price.  Students, however, receive priority. 

Insurance and Other Benefits Provided by Law

The benefits listed below are currently available to employees of the District. There may be additional benefits for certain individuals and may change periodically. It is the employee’s responsibility to complete all necessary paperwork and to meet the requirements. Law, state regulation, and Board action on an annual or as-needed basis may adjust these benefits. Eligibility for most benefits requires an employee to be contracted a minimum number of hours per week during the duration of his/her contract year. 

Eligibility for some benefits may include a requirement for the employee to complete an enrollment form within the first month of employment with the District. Beyond that period, some benefits may not be available or only available with additional restrictions.

To change or discontinue coverage often requires additional paperwork and documents as well as the need to meet legal timelines. Contact the benefits office for clarification or additional information.

Insurance

  • Insurance is OPTIONAL. The employee must complete and sign an insurance enrollment form,

even if he/she does not elect to have insurance.

Medical

  • The district pays a portion of the premium per state-regulated percentage based on salary
  • Enrollment requires application and payroll authorization         
  • Guaranteed eligibility only with enrollment within 30 days of employment
  • Employee Only, Employee + Dependent/Spouse, Family Plans available         
  • Includes prescription drug benefits

Dental

  • Multiple plans available
  • The employee pays the total premium
  • Waiting period for some benefits

Vision

  • The employee pays the total premium

Cancer/Catastrophic Illness

  • The employee pays the total premium

Long-Term Disability

  • Employees pay a portion of the premium per state-regulated percentage based on salary.

Basic Life

  • $50,000 per employee
  • The district pays the entire premium

Optional Additional Life

  • Additional term life insurance is available
  • The employee pays the total premium

Liability

  • The district pays the entire premium
  • Provides protection and legal defense to an employee who is sued for liability arising from the proper performance of his/her employment responsibilities for the District.

Cafeteria Plan

  • Expenses for qualifying categories are paid with pre-tax dollars.
    • Option to pay for Insurance Premiums: Medical, Vision, Dental, and Long-Term Disability
    • Option to pay expenses for Child Care: The employee must submit a form for reimbursement.
    • Option to pay expenses for Unreimbursed Medical Expenses including co-pay, deductibles, and prescription medication purchases. The employee can request a National Benefits Services (NBS) MasterCard to use for unreimbursed medical expenses. The employee can submit a form for reimbursement.
  • Employees make changes in monthly deduction amounts annually at the end of the calendar year.  NOTE: Deducted amounts not used will not be refunded, per IRS regulations.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

  • This benefit allows you to continue some insurance coverage after you separate from the District.  Federal law defines the terms and limitations of COBRA and you must apply for this benefit within a defined timeline.

New Mexico Educational Retirement Benefits

  • Required deduction from the salary of all full-time employees, long-term substitutes, and retired employees who have received an ERB Return to Work letter.
  • Matched by the District in a percentage set by state law
  • Administered by the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board
  • Upon separation from the District, an employee can roll over or withdraw employee ERB only.
  • Retiree Health Care Plan is a required deduction from the salary of all ERB-eligible employees.

Tax Deferred Annuity/403(b)/457/, etc.

  • Optional benefit
  • Only District-approved plans are eligible for payroll deduction
  • Employees must complete forms for payroll deduction
  • Some maximum contribution, withdrawal eligibility, timelines for changes, and other limits may apply

Worker Compensation Benefits

  • Employees are protected under the New Mexico Workers Compensation Laws
  • The District pays a large portion of the premium for coverage. The employee, however, is assessed a $2.00 fee each quarter; this is shown as a deduction on his/her paycheck.
  • If an employee requires medical attention as a result of a workplace injury, he/she must complete the accident reporting process (see Accidents and Injuries).
  • If an employee is absent from work as a result of a workplace injury, he/she must apply for the appropriate leave (See Absence Notification and Leave).
  • If an employee is absent from work as a result of a workplace injury, he/she must submit to the Human Resources Department a medical statement from the attending physician indicating the employee is able to return to full duty, prior to his/her return to work.

Social Security (FICA)/Medicaid

  • Required deductions are a percentage of the employee’s salary, per federal and state laws and regulations
  • District matches employee contribution with percentage defined by federal and state laws

Voluntary Transfer of Accrued Sick Leave (Sick Leave Bank)

The District recognizes the existence of circumstances under which non-job-related, seriously incapacitating, and extended illnesses and injury may exhaust an employee’s accrued leave. To provide some measure of relief in such situations, a limited Sick Leave Bank has been established. The purpose of this Sick Leave Bank is to provide additional sick leave days to members of the bank in the event of an unexpected critical illness, surgery, or a temporary disability due to an injury that requires extended hospitalization or home confinement of the employee or the employee's immediate family as defined in Section I-B of Board Policy G-3100.  Days may be granted from the bank only after the member has exhausted all accumulated sick leave, personal leave, earned leave, and vacation (when applicable) days. The complete Board Policy G-3100 can be accessed on the District’s website.

Payment of Unused Personal Time Off

Unused Personal Time Off shall be paid when an LMS employee retires. Employees who have completed at least ten (10) years of service with the District at the time of retirement will be paid for their unused Personal Time Off at a rate of fifty dollars ($50) per day of accumulated Personal Time Off (see Board Policy G-2550 GCCA Professional/Support Staff Personal Time Off). Payment of unused Personal Time Off will not be distributed until the employee provides documentation indicating that they have received a paycheck from the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (NMERB).

Tuition

While attending the University of the Southwest or Eastern New Mexico University, tuition will be paid at the current MOU per credit hour rate. While attending a university other than USW or ENMU, tuition will be paid at the current Eastern New Mexico University MOU per credit hour rate. A maximum of nine (9) credit hours will be paid per academic year.

Support Staff Employees must be recommended by an administrator and submit a degree plan for a bachelor’s degree in education from an accredited university leading to eligibility to earn teaching credentials. Employees must receive a grade of ‘C’ or better on coursework.

Professional Employees must be completing coursework that counts toward a master’s degree or the coursework for additional certifications. Employees must receive a ‘B’ or better on coursework (see Board Policy G-2450 GCBD Professional Staff Fringe Benefits). Grades must be submitted to the Human Resources Specialist immediately upon completion of a class. If the required passing grade is not received, the employee must make arrangements to reimburse the District.

Please Note Expectations Related to Tuition:

  • Employees who resign or retire from Lovington Municipal Schools prior to the completion of a degree for which the District has paid tuition will be required to reimburse the District for any and all amounts that have been reimbursed to the employee for related expenses and the employee will not be eligible for reimbursement of any existing or pending costs related to to the degree.
  • Employees who resign or retire from Lovington Municipal Schools within three (3) years following the completion date of a degree for which the employee received reimbursement from the District will be required to reimburse the District for any and all amounts reimbursed to the employee for related coursework and will not be eligible for reimbursement of existing or pending costs related to the degree.

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 3: Staff Leaves and Absence

Absence Notification

When it is necessary for a staff member to be away from their work site, it is his/her responsibility to notify the supervisor as soon as possible and indicate the probable duration of the absence. Employees must give prior notification to the supervisor for any absence from work. 

If an employee uses Personal Time Off (PTO) for five (5) consecutive days or more, he/she is required to provide a physician’s certification in order to be paid for such absence and be cleared to return to work. If an employee is on extended leave, he/she is required to contact the Human Resources Department.

Certified personnel who require a substitute must notify their principal/supervisor as directed. The absence must be entered into the Frontline Absence Management Substitute System. 

Holidays for Less than Twelve (12)-Month Employees

Staff members who are hired for contracts of less than twelve (12) months will not accrue vacation. Holidays will be given as indicated on the school calendar. School calendars are available on the LMS website. Personal leave taken immediately before or after an identified holiday requires approval from BOTH the immediate supervisor AND the Superintendent. 

Holidays and Vacations for Twelve (12)-Month Employees

Twelve (12)-month employees shall have vacations based on their years of experience and job classification with Lovington Municipal Schools. Holidays may be established by the school calendar. All employees shall be entitled to legal holidays during the school year as announced by the Superintendent and in conformance with New Mexico Revised Statutes. Uncompensated days off will be established by the District calendar (see Board Policies G-3200 Professional Staff Vacations and Holidays and G-7500 Support Staff Vacations and Holidays).

  • G-3200 Professional Staff Vacations and Holidays: Licensed twelve (12)-month administrators shall earn fifteen (15) days of vacation per year. Licensed twelve (12)-month administrators may accrue up to twenty (20) days of vacation at the rate of five (5) days per year. Vacation days may be taken between July 1 of the current fiscal year through August 1 of the next fiscal year.
  • G-7500 Support Staff Vacations and Holidays: Support staff employees assigned to a twelve (12)-month position will be granted fifteen (15) annual paid vacation days. Support staff employees who are new to the District shall be granted five (5) vacation days after completing six (6) months of employment. On the one-year anniversary of employment, the remaining ten (10) vacation days (of the 15 total vacation days) will be granted. Vacation days may be taken between July 1 of the current fiscal year through August 1 of the next fiscal year. Vacations shall be taken as approved by the Superintendent or immediate supervisor.

All employees shall be entitled to legal holidays during the school year as announced by the Superintendent and in conformance with New Mexico Revised Statutes. Uncompensated days off will be established by the District calendar.

Personal Time Off

Personal Time Off (PTO) for District personnel is a designated amount of compensated leave that is granted to a staff member who is unable to perform the duties assigned (see Board Policy G-2550 Professional/Support Staff Personal Time Off).

PTO shall not exceed a period of five (5) consecutive days unless approval is granted by the Superintendent.

Any employee who misses work for five (5) consecutive days, and/or suffers a serious injury or illness, hospitalization, or surgery must present a release from a doctor to the Superintendent or designee before returning to work. Employees are not required to disclose protected health information to supervisors.  Employees should contact the Human Resources Department with questions related to the return-to-work protocol.

Each staff member shall be credited with a PTO allowance at the rate of one (1) day per month, determined by the number of months employed, for example:

            Twelve (12)-months of employment      =      twelve (12) days
            Ten (10)-months employment                =      ten (10) days

PTO entitlement will be credited as of the first (1st) day of the contract year. Late hires/part-time employees will receive a prorated amount of PTO. Employees shall submit the appropriate PTO request to their immediate supervisor requesting approval of PTO with as much notice as possible, but no less than forty-eight (48) hours in advance, except in emergencies. In the event of an emergency, the employee will notify the supervisor as soon as possible. Any unused paid leave will convert to accrued PTO, up to one hundred fifty (150) days. Dock days shall result when all PTO days are taken without sufficient accrued leave.

The unused portion of such allowance for licensed staff shall accumulate to a maximum of one hundred fifty (150) days and for support staff up to one hundred twenty (120) days, at which time no more PTO can be earned. As accumulated PTO days are used and drop below the maximum level of accumulation, an eligible employee may again accumulate PTO up to the maximum limit.

When a staff member exhausts all days of accumulated PTO, an unpaid leave of absence may be requested, pursuant to District policy.

PTO of any staff member who does not serve a full school year shall be prorated at the rate of one (1) day per month.

Upon request, the staff member shall inform the Superintendent of the following:

  • Purpose for which PTO is being taken.
  • Expected date of return from PTO.
  • Where the staff member may be contacted during the leave.

A physician's statement may be required for all absences or use of PTO of five (5) consecutive days or more.

In the event of the death of an employee or student in the District, the principal/supervisor may grant to an employee, or to an appropriate number of employees, one and one-half (1 1/2) hours of time off to attend the funeral if the work site assignment(s) can be monitored voluntarily without creating a hardship on the instructional program.  If the employee(s) is/are gone for more than one and one-half (1 1/2) hours, or if the principal/supervisor must arrange for a substitute, PTO will be charged to the employee(s).

Any employee who can be shown to have willfully violated or misused the District's PTO policy or misrepresented any statement or condition will be subject to discipline, which may include reprimand, suspension, and/or dismissal.

If a pattern of PTO usage or late request for PTO is established, such usage or late requests may be considered an abuse of leave and cause for disciplinary action and reimbursement.

The Superintendent or designee may request a statement from the employee's doctor for patterned misuse of PTO for medical reasons.  Extended leave (more than five [5] days) due to health reasons will require a statement from the employee's physician.  Additionally, employees requiring extended leave for health reasons who are not eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or whose leave exceeds twelve (12) weeks must request to use accrued sick leave or request to take an unpaid leave of absence.

Absent Without Leave

An employee shall be deemed Absent Without Leave when absent from work due to:

  • A reason that conforms to a policy currently in effect where the maximum days provided in that policy will be exceeded; or
  • A reason that does not conform to any policy currently in effect; or
  • Failure to report to work without prior notification to the supervisor     

In no case shall an employee be compensated for time lost due to being absent without leave. An employee who is absent from work without prior approval is subject to disciplinary action. This includes anyone who was unable to obtain prior approval due to unusual circumstances when such approval is denied upon the employee's return.

Bereavement Leave

An employee may be granted, upon request to the Superintendent, up to five (5) days of leave per year, deducted from Personal Time Off. Extensions of bereavement leave may be granted upon personal request to the Superintendent. If approved, all such extensions of bereavement leave shall be deducted from the employee's earned sick leave. In the absence of any earned Personal Time Off, and upon request, the Superintendent may approve an unpaid leave of absence for each day of extended bereavement leave used.

In the event of the death of an employee or student in the District, the principal/supervisor may grant to an employee, or to an appropriate number of employees, one and one-half (1 1/2) hours of time off to attend the funeral if the work site assignment(s) can be monitored voluntarily without creating a hardship on the instructional program.  If the employee(s) is/are gone for more than one and one-half (1 1/2) hours, or if the principal/supervisor must arrange for a substitute, sick leave may be charged to the employee(s).

Any exceptions due to unusual circumstances must be approved by the immediate supervisor.

Employee Return to Work Protocol

Any employee, who misses work for five (5) consecutive days, and suffers a serious injury or illness, hospitalization, or surgery must present a release from a doctor to the Human Resources Department before returning to work. The steps below are intended to assist employees in understanding the process. Employees are not required to disclose protected health information to supervisors. Employees should contact the Human Resources Department with questions related to the return to work protocol.

  1. An employee misses five (5) days, suffers a serious injury or illness, hospitalization, surgery, etc. Appropriate leave must be requested from a supervisor.
  2. PRIOR TO THE EXPECTED DATE OF RETURN. Present release from a doctor to the Human Resources Department to gain approval to return to work. The release should list any restrictions and length of time restriction is to be imposed or state ‘No Restrictions’.
  3. The Human Resources Department reviews the release and determines whether the employee may return to work.
  4. The Human Resources Department will direct supervisors if reasonable accommodations are necessary regarding the employee’s duties.
  5. Supervisor and employee are notified once the Human Resources Department has approved the return of the work. EMPLOYEES MAY NOT RETURN TO WORK UNTIL THIS HAS OCCURRED.
  1. Supervisors may allow accommodations to the employee’s duties IF DIRECTED TO DO SO BY THE Human Resources Department.

Personal / Emergency / Religious Leave

If an employee has exhausted their Personal Time Off (PTO) accumulated leave, they may request  up to three (3) additional PBL (Personal Business Leave) days per year for which a licensed employee's gross pay will be reduced by one hundred dollars ($100) per day and a support staff members pay will be reduced by fifty dollars ($50) per day. Except in an emergency situation, the employee must give three (3) days' notice. Requests for PBL must be received at least three (3) working days prior to the first day of leave and must be approved by the supervisor.

Requests shall be acted upon in order of receipt, and the availability of substitutes, if necessary, may limit the number of requests granted at any one (1) time.

PBL will not be granted during the following periods:

  • On the day immediately preceding or following a holiday or vacation.
  • During the first two (2) weeks of school or the last two (2) weeks of school.
  • During nine-week tests, semester, and standardized tests.
  • On professional development days.

District employees who serve as elected public officials may be granted up to five (5) days of political leave annually. The cost of a replacement employee, regardless of whether a substitute is employed, will be deducted from the absent employee's pay.

An employee shall be granted time off without loss of pay when that employee is summoned for jury duty or to testify as a witness where the matter does not involve asserting or protecting one's own interest. Money received for jury duty during the employee's work schedule, except that paid for mileage and/or subsistence, will be remitted to the District.

Leave of Absence Without Pay

The District recognizes that on occasion extenuating circumstances arise that may necessitate absence from duty that is not covered by other specific leave provisions of the District. To address such situations, Leave of Absence Without Pay may be granted to a member of the certified or support staff for no longer than one (1) year (see Board Policy G-2900 GCCC Professional/Support Staff Leaves of Absence Without Pay).

  • Leave of Absence may be requested for, but not limited to, the following purposes:
    • Additional education that relates to the employee's primary assignment
    • To provide for unpaid leave in a situation where the employee will be absent from work due to: (1) a reason that conforms to a policy currently in effect but the maximum number of days provided in that policy will be exceeded, or (2) failure to report to work without prior notification to the supervisor
    • For a Leave of Absence that benefits or is in the best interest of the District, as determined by the Board upon review of the application
    • For leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • A Leave of Absence requested pursuant to this policy may be:
    • Approved by the Superintendent if the leave period does not exceed twelve (12) weeks; or
    • Recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board if the leave period exceeds twelve (12) weeks

The District shall not deny a request for Leave of Absence if the employee is entitled to the leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. All other applications for Leave of Absence may be granted or denied by the District, at its sole discretion.

Each request for a Leave of Absence shall be in a written application stating the purpose, starting date, duration of the Leave of Absence, reasons for its necessity or desirability, and any other information the applicant deems relevant to the request.

The Leave of Absence shall be only for the purpose and duration approved and may not be extended without written approval by the District.

All rights of retirement, salary increments, and other benefits shall be restored at the level earned when the leave was granted. Licensed teachers may also have their status restored. All accrued sick, vacation, personal, and other paid leave shall be applied to the leave period unless otherwise agreed to by the District or prohibited by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Military / Legal Leave / Miscellaneous

The Board recognizes that its employees have citizenship responsibilities. In order to make it possible for employees to carry out their responsibilities to the city, county, state, or nation, the Board may grant such leaves as indicated below. When an employee receives notice that requires leave as delineated above, it is the responsibility of the employee to notify the Superintendent or principal.

Subpoena

You will be granted leave if you are served a subpoena for a deposition or a trial that is related to your employment. Please notify your supervisor as soon as you receive the subpoena. It is the intent of this section to apply to defendants and subpoenaed witnesses. It does not apply wherein a staff member instigates a lawsuit.

Jury Duty

It is recognized by the Board that no employee is exempt from jury duty and that leaves of absence for such duty must be granted. An employee on jury duty will receive their regular salary.

  • Staff members who are requested to serve as an election official in city, county, state, or national government or bond elections, juryman, or witness by subpoena will not claim remuneration for such duty performed during the duty day and no deductions will be withheld from the salary.
  • An employee excused from jury duty after being summoned shall report for regular duty as soon as possible. Failure to report for duty will result in a deduction equal to that portion of a contract day missed, as well as possible disciplinary action.

Military Leave

An employee who is a member of the uniformed service may use leave and be given reemployment opportunities in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Conferences / Visitations / Workshops

To attend meetings or conferences, licensed employees must obtain approval from the administration at least two weeks or ten (10) days prior to the meeting or conference dates whenever a prior request is possible.

The following guides will be used in granting released time and/or travel expenses:

  • Value of the meeting or conference
  • Budgeted fund availability\
  • Availability of a substitute, if necessary

Forms and instructions for filing travel claims are available at the the District Administration Building.

Special Assignment Leave

A certified/licensed staff member may be requested or assigned to represent the District, school, or department in an activity that directly relates to the certified/licensed staff’s duties. The District shall pay substitutes.

Sabbatical Leave

Upon approval, as a part of a compensation plan, the Board may grant Sabbatical Leave showing direct benefit to the instructional program to licensed teaching and administrative personnel for a maximum of one (1) year in accordance with 22-10A-35 through 22-10A-38 NMSA 1978, and 6.66.4.8 NMAC. The certified/licensed staff member must submit an application to the Lovington School Board no later than January 15 of the school year preceding the leave request period.

 

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 4:  Employment Information

 

Staff Contact Information

An employee should notify his/her immediate supervisor and the Human Resources Department as soon as possible of any change of name or emergency contact information. If there is a status change with an individual who is listed on an employee’s benefits document, the Benefits Office should be notified as soon as possible. Change of address and telephone number changes can be made through Employee Portal.

Meetings / Orientation

Principals/supervisors are responsible for employee attendance at building-level staff meetings, New Teacher Academy, and participation in district in-service training. Each employee is responsible for obtaining information about when and where the required meeting(s) will be held and attending as directed. 

Numerous professional development opportunities occur throughout the year, and participation in the District Staff Development Program is based on individual interests and District needs. Maintenance, Student Nutrition, Custodial, Related Services, and site supervisors will conduct training sessions at their discretion. 

Documentation for Contracts and Compensation

After successful completion of the background check process, each employee will provide the following information by within thirty (30) days from the first day of employment:

  1. A proper license for the position to be held (certified and educational assistants, selected maintenance staff)
  2. An official transcript or high school diploma/GED showing education record and training
  3. Suitable evidence of the date of birth
  4. Any other documentation as may be required by law

Failure to provide information during the specified timeline may cause a discontinuance of salary and the possibility of a requirement to return to the District compensation received.

Health/Medical Examinations

If at any time there is a question as to the ability of an employee to perform his/her assigned responsibilities or for other good and just reasons, the District may require a complete medical examination performed by a District-appointed physician. The school district will pay for the examination.

Such a medical examination will be considered job-related and consistent with business necessity, and therefore permissible, in the following situations:

  • When an employee wishes to return to work following an absence due to illness or injury. An examination may be conducted to determine if the employee, with reasonable accommodation, can safely and effectively perform the essential functions of the job.
  • When an employee requests an accommodation. If an employee requests an accommodation on the basis of a claimed disability, an examination may be conducted to determine if the employee is an "individual with a disability" to whom a duty of accommodation is owed and, if so, to identify potential accommodations.
  • When an employee is having difficulty performing the assigned job effectively, the District may require the employee to undergo a medical examination to determine if the performance problems are a result of an underlying medical condition.
  • Medical examinations or monitoring are required under certain circumstances by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Note that this does not include the normal doctor’s excuse to not report to work or the doctor’s note to return to work following an illness or medical care. For this type of medical documentation, the employee is generally responsible for paying for his/her own medical care.

Licensure Requirements

All staff members who are required to have a current license issued by the New Mexico Public Education Department, other licensure agencies, or regulatory boards in New Mexico must provide a copy of the license to the Human Resources Department by the state-mandated deadlines.

Teachers, educational assistants, special education ancillary staff, librarians, counselors, social workers, coaches, trainers, therapists, administrators, and substitute teachers are a partial list of staff members who must be licensed.

The District provides training to educational assistants in an effort to assist them in acquiring a license, but it is the employee’s responsibility to acquire the license.

Employees who do not have a license with the New Mexico Public Education Department are required to submit a fingerprint background check. Forms and information about licensure are available on the New Mexico Public Education Department's website: https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/licensure/.

Continuing License, Renewing License

For continuing licensure at all levels, your most recent employing local Superintendent or nonpublic school administrator must verify that you have satisfactorily demonstrated the New Mexico Public Education Department’s (PED) approved competencies. If you possess more than one license, you may renew each of those licenses provided that you have satisfactorily demonstrated the competencies for the license under which you are currently employed.     

Should the local Superintendent or nonpublic school administrator verify that you have not satisfactorily demonstrated the PED-approved competencies, you may follow an established appeals procedure. A copy of the appeals procedure may be obtained from the New Mexico Public Education Department’s Professional Licensure Unit.

It is the employee’s responsibility to know when his/her license will expire and take the necessary steps for renewal and provide a copy to the Human Resources Department, prior to the mandated deadlines. If an employee does not maintain a current, valid license for the position for which he/she is hired, he/she will not be entitled to monetary compensation.

Personnel Records

The Human Resources Department shall maintain a personnel file for each employee. This file will be retained in the the District Administration Building with proper security controls observed. The personnel records of the school district will comply with all state and federal regulatory agencies. The records generally will include, but not be limited to:

Pre-Employment File:

  1. Original application and references
  2. Documents obtained prior to employment, i.e., police record checks, court checks, worker compensation history, etc.
  3. Reference documents prepared for submission to other agencies to which an employee may have applied for employment

Personnel File:

  1. A complete transcript of college credit or high school diploma
  2. Current teaching certificate/license, if required
  3. Driver’s License or Passport
  4. Social Security Card
  5. Birth Certificate
  6. Retirement record                                                                                   
  7. Contracts or letters of employment
  8. Supervising reports
  9. Service record
  10. W-4 form

Personnel records of the District are not classified as public records; therefore, are not open to public inspection. The use of the personnel file will be limited to the employee and his/her designated representative, the Superintendent or his/her designated representative, or the principal/supervisor. Use of the file by any of the above individuals will be through the Human Resources Department.

Employees may have an opportunity to respond, in writing, to any material in their personnel file that they consider to be incorrect and negative, and/or detrimental to their professional status or personal character. The response by the employee shall be included in his/her personnel record. Personnel may have what they consider incorrect, negative, and/or detrimental materials removed from their personnel record under the following guidelines:

  1. A period of two (2) years has passed
  2. The Superintendent agrees to its removal
  3. All personnel involved in the material’s submission to the personnel record and the employee agree to its removal, thereby agreeing that the reason for the initial submittal has been resolved.

If an employee wishes to review his/her personnel file, he/she may do so by making an appointment with the Human Resources Department staff. The Human Resources Department will make copies for employees of the documents in their personnel files.

Required Training

All employees shall be required to complete training in Bloodborne Pathogens, Asthma Awareness, Sexual Harassment Staff-Staff, Sexual Misconduct Staff-Student, Child Abuse Identification and Intervention, and Student Drug & Alcohol Abuse. This requirement shall be completed each school year. Additional training may be required of staff members periodically as a condition of continued employment in order for the District to meet legislative mandates and state and federal laws and regulations.

Resignations

Resignations or any provision in regard to notification of resignation by an employee will depend on the conditions of tenure and continuing contract that are in effect. The District does not expect its employees to feel an obligation beyond the legal requirements of their contracts. The District does expect employees to act in accordance with several ethical considerations.

When feasible, a full-time employee who has been approached with an offer of employment outside the District should inform the appropriate administrators of the District when such negotiations are in progress. The conclusion of a binding agreement for the employee to accept a position elsewhere should always be followed by prompt notice to the District.

For certified/licensed staff, a written notice of resignation shall be filed with the Human Resources Department thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of resignation. The Human Resources Department may waive the 30-day notice. A resignation form may be obtained from the Human Resources Department or from the District’s website. Only the Superintendent may rescind a resignation.

Transfers

To be considered for a transfer to a different position within the District, an employee must complete an internal transfer application in Frontline. Teachers who are interested in transferring to a different position must follow the Lateral Transfer Process. 

The Superintendent will determine all staff assignments. Such assignments shall be based on the needs of the District. In addition, no right to school, grade, or subject assignment shall be inferred from the standard teacher's contract. Therefore, the assignments of all staff members may be changed to serve the best interest of the District.

Staff members may apply for transfer or reassignment when vacancies exist. Generally, transfers will not be approved during the school year unless the needs of the District dictate such.

It shall be the policy of the Board that personnel are assigned on the basis of their qualifications, the needs of the District, and their expressed desires. When it is not possible to meet all three (3) conditions, personnel shall be assigned first in accordance with the needs of the District, second where the Superintendent determines the employee is most qualified to serve, and third as to the preference of the employee.

In the case of vacancies in new or existing positions, equal consideration will be given to qualified applicants among current employees.

The resolution of conflicts over the need for a transfer shall be based on what is best for the instructional program, student needs, and the overall needs of the District as defined by the Superintendent.

Vacancies

Vacancies in the District are generally posted on the District’s website. Current employees who apply for a vacant position are fairly considered. Occasionally, preference is given to current District employees when the job description suggests they may be the best-qualified group of applicants.  Generally, current employees who have applied for a position are given equal consideration to all applicants for the position.

Evaluation of Professional Personnel

Evaluation of certified employees is necessary to improve performance and move the District toward excellence. Another purpose of the evaluation is to contribute to the process for the determination of re-employment, termination, and/or reassignment.

Lovington Municipal Schools’ evaluation process will include student/parents/peer assessments, administrative observations, as needed; performance goals and objectives; competencies, and job descriptions. Procedures and suggested timelines for implementing Board Policy G-5350 are set forth on the Human Resource Department webpage or the New Mexico Public Education Department’s website: https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/educator-growth-development/elevatenm/. 

Evaluation of Support Personnel

Evaluation of support personnel is necessary to improve performance and move the District toward excellence. Another purpose of the evaluation is to contribute to the process for the determination of re-employment, termination, and/or reassignment. Immediate supervisors and directors are responsible for the evaluation of support staff. Procedures and suggested timelines for implementing Board Policy G-8900 are available in the Human Resources Department.

Employee Discipline Process

For job performance that is less than acceptable or for misconduct, supervisors may use a number of tools to motivate, correct, and/or discipline employees, including, but not limited to warnings, reprimands, suspension with or without pay, and discharge, as determined to be appropriate.

Progressive discipline may be used to correct employee behavioral or performance issues. In this process, employees may receive the following: (1) informal warning/counseling, (2) documented warning/reprimand/directive, (3) increasing disciplinary action, and (4) notice of termination/dismissal.  However, there may be situations where the severity or seriousness of the offense justifies the omission of one or more of the steps in this process. Likewise, there may be situations where a disciplinary step is repeated.

Employees may respond in writing, in a timely fashion, to any disciplinary documentation they may receive from their supervisors. This process is separate from the District’s Grievance Procedure.

If warranted, employees may be temporarily suspended from their worksite due to an incident.

Following an investigation, if the action or incident does not warrant dismissal, the employee will be reinstated to his/her position with all salary and benefits.

LMS employees may be suspended for actions, incidents, or work habits that do not adhere to the policies of the Board of Education and/or administrative rules and regulations of Lovington Municipal Schools.

Administrative Leave Pending Possible Disciplinary Action

If you are suspected of violating District policies, procedures, or work rules, you may be placed on Administrative Leave, with or without pay, pending an investigation. Being placed on Administrative Leave With Pay may not be considered a disciplinary action. Often this is done to protect both the employee and the District until an appropriate investigation can be completed.

Disciplinary Actions and Suspensions

Disciplinary action against an employee may take the form of a written reprimand or suspension (with or without loss of pay). The causes for such actions and procedures are as follows:

  • In the event the administration (Superintendent, principals, or supervisors) learns that a staff member has been indicted, charged, or otherwise accused of having committed an offense that might warrant dismissal, the Superintendent may suspend the employee from duties, without loss of pay, until the question of the employee’s fitness to perform his or her duties is resolved. Accusations that might warrant suspension include, but are not limited to, a charge that an employee has committed a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude, or otherwise has engaged in the conduct of a morally reprehensible nature tending to discredit the faculty or the District or to cast doubt upon the employee’s fitness to continue serving in his or her position.
  • In the event, the Superintendent determines that suspension from duties is warranted and upon completion of an investigation, the Superintendent shall either return the employee to duty or initiate procedures for dismissal.
  • In the event the Superintendent initiates procedures for dismissal, he/she shall give the employee written notice of the proposed action and a statement informing the employee of his/her right to a hearing.

Dismissal or Termination

Dismissal or termination of an employee may be imposed for cause, including but not limited to the following reasons:

  1. Conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude;
  2. Unlawful use of alcohol or narcotics;
  3. Failure to comply with official directives and/or established Board of Education policies, or;
  4. Physical or mental incapacity prevents the performance of duties.

NOTE:  dismissal of a certified staff member during the term of a contract requires due process.

Workplace Grievances

This applies only to grievances that relate to conditions of employment. 

NOTE: Grievances that relate to equal employment and educational opportunity, sexual harassment, and discrimination of groups that are protected under federal or state law are not covered in this process. Please refer to “Grievance Procedures for Civil Right Discrimination” contained in this Handbook.

Terms and conditions of employment mean the hours of employment, compensation, including fringe benefits, and the employer's personnel policies directly affecting the employee. In the case of professional employees, the term does not include the educational policies of the District.

In regard to workplace grievances, you should first try to resolve the matter by discussing it informally with your immediate supervisor. If that does not work, you must put your concern(s) in writing to your immediate supervisor.  From this point forward, please follow the process outlined below. Please note, some concerns are not grievable using this process. For example, if your supervisor gives you a ‘bad evaluation or written reprimand’, you can respond in writing as a part of the Performance Evaluation Plan; you do not respond by filing a grievance under this process.

No person shall suffer retaliation, recrimination, discrimination, harassment, or otherwise be adversely affected because of the use of the grievance procedure.

The following procedure has been established for effective communication between District employees, administrative staff, and the Board:

  • Prior to filing a formal written grievance, the grievant must attempt to resolve the matter by one (1) or more informal conferences with the immediate supervisor. The first informal conference must be conducted within ten (10) days after the employee knew or should have known, of the act or omission, giving rise to the grievance. A second or any subsequent conference must occur within five (5) days after the initial informal conference or any subsequent conference.
  • If the informal conference(s) does not resolve the matter, the grievant moves to the Formal Grievance Process. The process is explained in detail in LMS Board Regulation G-1811, and the necessary forms are provided in LMS Board G-1831. The regulations and forms are also available in the Human Resources Department.
  • Please note, employees must follow and complete each level in the formal process prior to moving to the next level. The Formal Grievance Process always begins with your immediate supervisor.

The following situations are not covered by this grievance procedure:

  • The discretionary act(s) of the professional judgment relate to the evaluation of the work performance of any employee by the designated evaluator(s).
  • A personnel decision made by the Superintendent, including but not limited to termination or discharge, demotion, or Board action directly and adversely affecting an employee's employment, which may be subject to redress through provisions of state law and regulation.
  • Situations in which the Superintendent and the Board are without authority to act or where the power to remedy the employee's concern resides exclusively with some person, agency, or authority other than the Board.
  • Situations as to which a different procedure for a remedy has been provided by the Board, or where state or federal authority prescribes District procedure.

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 5: Employee Conduct

By accepting employment, you have a responsibility to the District and to your fellow employees to adhere to certain rules of behavior and conduct. The purpose of the rules is not to restrict your rights, but rather to be certain you understand what employee conduct is expected and necessary. Employee conduct guidelines are necessary to help everyone work together efficiently, effectively, and congenially.

Employee Conduct in the Workplace

Employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is professional, mature, responsible, and appropriate in the workplace. Employees are to act in a manner as to provide a good example for students and follow the Code of Conduct [See LMS Policy G-0750] and all other LMS Board Policies and Administrative Regulations and directives. All employees should avoid behaviors, such as those listed below:

  • Abusive, harassing, bullying, or threatening conduct in the workplace
  • Excessive tardiness and absenteeism
  • Being absent without leave
  • Engaging in unprofessional conduct
  • Engaging in behavior that creates discord and lack of harmony
  • Engaging in acts of insubordination
  • Neglecting assigned duties
  • Violating security or safety rules or failing to observe safety rules or District safety practices
  • Engaging in acts of dishonesty
  • Engaging in discourteous treatment of the public
  • Failing to follow the chain of command
  • Engaging in activities that violate federal, state, or local laws or which, in any way, diminish the integrity, efficiency, or discipline of the District 

If an employee fails to follow these guidelines, it may result in disciplinary action for misconduct, up to and including dismissal from their position.

If you have questions concerning work or safety rules or any of the unacceptable behaviors listed above, please see your supervisor. The list of behaviors for employees to avoid does not include all types of conduct that can result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. Nothing in this list alters the at-will nature of employment for contracted employees of the District.

Safety

Staff members are entitled to protection and reasonable safety while performing their duties for Lovington Municipal Schools.       

Any employee who is threatened with harm by an individual or a group while carrying out assigned duties shall immediately notify the building principal or supervisor.

An employee who notices any health or safety concerns should notify the building principal or site supervisor.

All injuries should be reported to your supervisor immediately. If the accident or injury is work-related, the Benefits Clerk at the District Administration Office should be contacted immediately.

Sexual Harassment

LMS Board Policy A-0300 and District Regulation A-0311 state that all individuals associated with the District are expected, at all times, to conduct themselves so as to provide an atmosphere that is free from sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when made by a member of the school staff to a student or to another staff member, or when made to a student by another student. It is important to note that sexual harassment crosses age and gender boundaries and cannot be stereotyped. In some situations, sexual harassment may even involve two women or two men.

Any employee who is subject to sexual harassment, or who knows of the occurrence of such conduct, should inform the Human Resources Department. The sexual harassment form, LMS Board Exhibit A-0331, is located on the District’s website.

A substantiated charge against a staff member shall subject such staff member to disciplinary action. 

Harassment and Discrimination

The District intends to provide a work environment that is pleasant, professional, and free from intimidation, hostility, or inappropriate behavior that might interfere with work performance. Harassment or discrimination of any sort – whether verbal, physical, or visual-based upon race, color, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, disability, veteran status, or other protected status defined by law, will not be tolerated. Refer to LMS Board Policies A-0250, A-0300, and G-0200.

Workplace harassment can take many forms. It may be but is not limited to words, signs, offensive jokes, cartoons, pictures, posters, email jokes or statements, pranks, intimidation, physical assaults or contact, or violence. Harassment is not necessarily sexual in nature. It may also take the form of other vocal activity including derogatory statements not directed to the targeted individual but taking place within their hearing. Other prohibited conduct includes written material such as notes, photographs, cartoons, articles of a harassing or offensive nature, and retaliatory action against an employee for discussing or making a harassment complaint. 

All District employees have a responsibility for keeping the work environment free of harassment and discrimination. Any employee who becomes aware of an incident of harassment or discrimination, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, must report it to their immediate supervisor or the Human Resources Department.  

If there is no threat of violence, the District encourages you to communicate directly with the alleged harasser and make it clear that the harasser's behavior is unacceptable, offensive, or inappropriate, although you are not required to do so. In any case, if you believe you have been subject to harassment or discrimination, you are required to notify your supervisor and/or the Human Resources Department immediately.

All complaints will be investigated promptly and as discreetly and confidentially as possible. If harassment or discrimination by an employee is established, the District will take appropriate disciplinary action against the offender. Disciplinary action can range from verbal warnings to discharge, depending on the circumstances.  The District will also take additional action necessary to appropriately remedy the situation. The District prohibits employees from retaliating in any way against someone who has raised a concern about harassment or discrimination of another individual. Retaliation of any sort will not be permitted. No adverse employment action will be taken against an employee making a good-faith report of alleged harassment, concern about harassment, or discrimination against another individual.

Equal Opportunity for Employment and Services

The Lovington Municipal School District provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. The Lovington Municipal School District complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the District has facilities. The District will not tolerate discrimination and it requires employees to report incidents related to discriminatory behavior. Forms are available in the Human Resources Department to assist in this regard.  

The District makes reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities for the performance of essential job functions as long as it does not impose an undue hardship on the District. Accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other relevant laws and regulations. Contact the Human Resources Department for questions and assistance.  

Grievance Procedures for Civil Rights Discrimination

This pertains only to grievances that relate to equal employment and education opportunities, sexual harassment, and discrimination of groups that are protected under federal or state law. NOTE: Grievances that relate to terms and conditions of employment or supervisors following LMS Board Policies are not covered in this process.  Please see Workplace Grievances.

The Communications Director as well as the Activity/Athletic Director shall be the compliance officers. Any person who feels unlawfully discriminated against or has been the victim of unlawful discrimination by an agent or employee of the District or who knows of such discrimination against another person should file a complaint with the Superintendent. If the Superintendent is the one alleged to have unlawfully discriminated, the complaint shall be filed with the President of the Board.

Complaint forms are available on the District’s website in LMS Board Policies A-0331 or in the Human Resources Department.

The District is committed to investigating each complaint and taking appropriate action on all confirmed violations of policy. The Superintendent shall investigate and document complaints filed pursuant to this regulation as soon as reasonable. In investigating the complaint, the Superintendent will maintain confidentiality to the extent reasonably possible. The Superintendent shall also investigate incidents of policy violation that are raised by the Board, even though no complaint has been made.

If, after the initial investigation, the Superintendent has reason to believe that a violation of policy has occurred, the Superintendent shall determine whether or not to hold an administrative hearing and/or to recommend bringing the matter before the Board.

If the person alleged to have violated policy is a teacher or an administrator, the due process provisions of LMS Board Policy G-6100 shall apply, except that the supervising administrator may be assigned to conduct the hearing. In cases of serious misconduct, dismissal, or suspension, proceedings in accordance with statutes may be initiated.

If the person alleged to have violated policy is a support staff employee, the Superintendent may follow due process and impose discipline under LMS Board Policy G-6100, if evidence warrants.

The Superintendent may also recommend suspension without pay, dismissal, or impose another appropriate discipline. If the Superintendent's investigation reveals no reasonable cause to believe the policy has been violated, the Superintendent shall, in writing, inform the complaining party.

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 6: Staff/Student Professional Boundaries

Board Policies referenced in this section include G-0650 and G-0750 

G-0650 GBEA STAFF ETHICS

We, professional educators of New Mexico, affirm our belief in the worth and dignity of humanity. We recognize the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, the encouragement of scholarship, and the promotion of democratic citizenship. We regard as essential to these goals the protection of freedom to learn and to teach with the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all. We affirm and accept our responsibility to practice our profession according to the highest ethical standards. We acknowledge the magnitude of the profession we have chosen and engage ourselves, individually and collectively, to judge our colleagues and to be judged by them in accordance with the applicable provisions of this code.

Principle I: Commitment to the student. We measure success by the progress of each student toward the achievement of their maximum potential. We, therefore, work to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals. We recognize the importance of cooperative relationships with other community institutions, especially the home. In fulfilling our obligation to the student, we:

  • deal justly and considerately with each student;
  • encourage the student to study and express varying points of view and respect the student's right to form their own judgment;
  • conduct conferences with or concerning students in an appropriate place and manner;
  • seek constantly to improve learning facilities and opportunities.

Principle II: Commitment to the community. We believe that patriotism in its highest form requires dedication to the principles of our democratic heritage. We share with all other citizens the responsibility for the development of sound public policy. As educators, we are particularly accountable for participating in the development of educational programs and policies and for interpreting them for the public. In fulfilling our obligations to the community, we:

  • Share the responsibility for improving the educational opportunities for all;
  • recognize that each educational institution has a person authorized to interpret its official policies;
  • acknowledge the right and responsibility of the public to participate in the formulation of educational policy;
  • evaluate through appropriate professional procedures conditions within a district or institution of learning, make known serious deficiencies, and take action deemed necessary and proper;
  • assume full political and citizenship responsibilities, but refrain from exploiting the institutional privileges of our professional positions to promote political candidates of [or] partisan activities;
  • protect the educational program against undesirable infringement and promote academic freedom.

Principle III: Commitment to the profession. We believe that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the future of the nation and its citizens. We, therefore, exert every effort to raise educational standards, improve our service, promote a climate in which the exercise of professional judgment is encouraged, demonstrate integrity in all work-related activities and interactions in the school setting and achieve conditions that attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education. Aware of the value of united effort, we contribute actively to the support, planning, and programs of our professional organizations. In fulfilling our obligations to the profession, we:

  • recognize that a profession must accept responsibility for the conduct of its members and understand that our own conduct may be regarded as representative of our profession;
  • participate and conduct ourselves in a responsible manner in the development and implementation of policies affecting education;
  • cooperate in the selective recruitment of prospective teachers and in the orientation of student teachers, interns and those colleagues new to their positions;
  • accord just and equitable treatment to all members of the profession in the exercise of their professional rights and responsibilities;
  • refrain from assigning professional duties to nonprofessional personnel when such assignment is not in the best interest of the student;
  • refrain from exerting undue influence based on the authority of our positions in the determination of professional decisions by colleagues;
  • keep the trust under which confidential information is exchanged;
  • make appropriate use of the time granted for professional purposes;
  • interpret and use the writings of others and the findings of educational research with intellectual honesty;
  • maintain our integrity when dissenting by basing our public criticism of education on valid assumptions as established by careful evaluation of facts;
  • respond accurately to requests for evaluation of colleagues seeking professional positions;
  • provide applicants seeking information about a position with an honest description of the assignment, the conditions of work, and related matters.

Principle IV: Commitment to professional employment practices. We regard the employment agreement as a solemn pledge to be executed both in spirit and in fact in a manner consistent with the highest ideals of professional service. Sound professional personnel relationships with governing boards are built upon integrity, dignity, and mutual respect between employees, administrators, and local school boards. In fulfilling our obligations to professional employment practices, we:

  • apply for or offer a position on the basis of professional and legal qualifications;
  • apply for a specific position only when it is known to be vacant and refrain from such practices as underbidding or commenting adversely about other candidates;
  • fill no vacancy except where the terms, conditions, and policies are known;
  • adhere to and respect the conditions of a contract or to the terms of an appointment until either has been terminated legally or by mutual consent;
  • give prompt notice of any change in availability of service, in the status of applications, or in a change in position;
  • conduct professional business through recognized educational and professional channels.

Managing professional boundaries

Working in Local Communities - Staff working in local communities face additional challenges in managing professional boundaries. They are more likely to have social relationships with the parents/guardians of children and young people with whom they work; therefore, more likely to share social and sporting events or membership at various community clubs, organizations, or associations.

This means staff will have legitimate reasons, on occasion, to attend social events with the children and young people with whom they work, visit their homes, or visit in the company of their parents/guardians.  These social engagements are an important part of community life and a positive contribution to the well-being of staff.

Following the guidelines below will assist staff in enjoying social engagements without compromising professional responsibilities. The guiding principles in managing professional boundaries are:

  • Staff should avoid being alone or in unsupervised settings with children and young people.
  • Staff should conduct themselves in a way that will not give an individual reason to question their suitability to work with children and young people, and that will not create fear, discomfort, humiliation, or intimidation for children and young people in their professional relationships.
  • Consuming alcohol may lessen a staff member’s capacity to judge when a professional boundary is at risk.
  • Staff should politely refuse to discuss matters relating to the workplace and should not discuss children and young people’s learning or social progress, other than at times set aside specifically for that purpose.

Any concern a staff member has about whether or not a situation may be compromising or breaching a professional boundary should be reported to the principal, the Human Resources Department, or another appropriate administrator, and an approved plan of action developed, implemented, and monitored.

Reporting violations, inappropriate or suspicious conduct

Staff members are required to immediately notify the principal, the Human Resources Department, or another appropriate administrator if they become aware of a situation that constitutes a violation of the law or Board Policy. This obligation is in addition to the statutory responsibility to report suspected abuse and neglect under the law as implemented by Policy JLF, “Child Abuse Neglect and Reporting,” or its equivalent.

Students and parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to notify the principal, the Human Resources Department, or another appropriate administrator if they believe a staff member may be engaging in conduct that violates appropriate boundaries, puts a student at risk, or may violate the law.

Anonymous complaints involving inappropriate boundary invasions by staff members will be investigated as if a student, parent, or staff member reported the violation.

Investigation 

Allegations of inappropriate conduct shall be promptly investigated in accordance with the procedures utilized for complaints of harassment.

It is understood that some reports will be based on rumors or misunderstandings; the fact that the reported staff member is cleared of any wrongdoing shall not result in disciplinary action against the reporter or witnesses. If as a result of an investigation, an individual, including the reported staff member, reporter, or witness is found to have intentionally provided false information during the investigation or hearings, or if any individual intentionally obstructs the investigation or hearings, this may be addressed as a violation of applicable laws, regulations, and Lovington Municipal School District Policies. Obstruction includes but is not limited to, violation of “no contact” orders, attempt to alter or influence witness testimony by threat or intimidation, and destruction of or withholding evidence. Intimidation of a witness is a violation of the NM Criminal Code and appropriate law enforcement authorities are notified immediately upon discovery.

Disciplinary action

A violation of these expectations and Board Policy by a staff member may result in disciplinary action up to and including discharge or termination of employment. The New Mexico Public Education Department will be notified in cases of termination of employment for sexual misconduct or abuse. Consistent with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s guidelines, the District will disclose formal reprimands or dismissals in violation of expectations to potential employers seeking references, regardless if prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the staff member resigned.

Retaliation

Retaliation against students or staff members who report an improper staff/student relationship, alleged harassment, or participate in any related proceedings is prohibited and appropriate action will be taken. 

Inappropriate behavior initiated by a student

In the event a student initiates inappropriate behavior toward a staff member, the staff member must immediately document and report the incident to the principal, the Human Resources Department, or another appropriate administrator. If applicable, the appropriate administrator will intervene and communicate with the student and his/her parent/guardian regarding the alleged inappropriate behavior, and implement necessary discipline or guidance.

Training

The District shall provide annual training regarding District expectations and Board Policies to current and new employees and Board Members. The District, at its sole discretion, may require independent contractors and their employees who interact with students or are present on school grounds to receive training on expectations, and District procedures, and provide them a copy of the Board Policy. 

Exceptions

An emergency situation or legitimate educational reason may justify deviation from professional boundaries set forth in these expectations. If a deviation occurs, the staff member shall be prepared to articulate the reason and must demonstrate that (s)he has maintained an appropriate staff/student relationship.

Nothing in these expectations shall set aside or void existing state laws or Board Policies relating to the topics covered herein.  The expectations shall serve as a supplement to the existing Board Policy.

DEFINITIONS

Duty of Care A common law concept that refers to the responsibility of staff to provide children and young people with an adequate level of protection against harm. It is usually expressed as a duty to take reasonable care to protect children and young people from all reasonably foreseeable risks or injuries.

Electronic Communications – A communication transmitted using an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, cellular telephone, computer, computer network, personal data assistant, or pager. Electronic communications include but are not limited to, emails, texts, instant messages, and communications made using an Internet website, including social media and other networking websites.

Hazing - Any action intentionally or recklessly taken or situation intentionally or recklessly created through which individuals are forced to perform, participate in, or endure actions that endanger the mental, physical, or academic health or safety of a student. This may include, but not be limited to, such actions which result in physical injury, assault or battery, kidnapping or imprisonment, intentionally placing a student at risk of mental or emotional harm, degradation, humiliation, intimidation or coercion, the compromising of moral or religious values, forced consumption of any liquid or solid, placing an individual in physical danger or at risk, or impairment of or interference with physical liberties or academic endeavors.

Inappropriate Boundary Invasion – An act, omission, or pattern of such behavior by a school employee or other adult that invades or is designed to result in an invasion of a student’s physical or emotional boundaries, which does not have a legitimate educational purpose, and results in abuse of the staff/student’s professional relationship.

Legitimate Educational Purpose or Reason – Matters or communications related to teaching, counseling, athletics, extracurricular activities, treatment of a student’s physical injury or other medical needs, school administration, or other purposes within the scope of the staff member’s job duties,  including performing a task specified in his or her job description or contract agreement, a task related to a student’s education or to the discipline of a student, providing a service or benefit related to the student or student’s family, or maintaining the safety and security of the school community.

Professional Boundaries – Appropriate professional, moral, and ethical relationships with students, on or off District property, that have a legitimate educational purpose or reason, both during and outside of school hours. 

Staff – For purposes of these expectations, the term “staff” is defined to include all District employees, including but not limited to, all administrators, counselors, teachers, nurses, librarians, student support specialists, support staff, non-instructional staff, coaches, employees of virtual school programs, to include but not be limited to, distance learning, online programs, and vendors and/or independent contractors providing instructional services to, or who may have direct, unsupervised contact with students, as well as all student teachers, interns, practicum students, volunteers, volunteer coaches, and community members.

These expectations apply to District employees, volunteers, student teachers, and independent contractors and their employees who interact with students, are present on school grounds, and may have unsupervised access to students.

Independent contractors doing business with the District will ensure employees who have direct interaction with, or unsupervised access to students, or are present on school grounds, are informed of the provisions of these expectations and complete a criminal background check, which complies with NMSA 1978 Section 22-10A-5.

These expectations are not intended to interfere with the appropriate person or family relationships between staff and students and their families that exist independently of the District, nor to interfere with participation in civic, religious, or other outside organizations that include District students.

The interactions and relationships between staff and students should be based upon mutual respect and trust, an understanding of the appropriate boundaries between staff and students in and outside of the educational setting, and consistency with the educational mission of the District.

Staff will not intrude on a student’s physical and emotional boundaries unless the intrusion is necessary to serve an educational, physical, mental, and/or emotional health purpose or to prevent the immediate risk of injury or harm to the student.

Staff shall use good judgment in their relationships with students beyond their work responsibilities and/or outside the school setting and shall avoid excessive informal and social involvement with individual students. Any appearance of impropriety should be avoided. Intimate relationships between staff and students are prohibited. In addition to regular classroom instruction and extracurricular activities, appropriate occasions when staff may interact with students beyond the school day include tutoring to improve students’ academic skills, mentoring that provides students with positive role models, and hosting school-sanctioned or school-sponsored activities and events that reinforce positive behaviors.

One-on-one tutoring and mentoring offered during school or non-school hours must take place at the school or at an off-site location approved by the principal or appropriate administrator. When one-on-one tutoring and mentoring take place away from the school, written permission from the parent/guardian must be obtained. Volunteers on school property must be under the supervision of a District staff member at all times.

During school or instructional-related events and school-sanctioned or sponsored activities during non-school hours, staff must maintain the ethical standards applicable to their professions.

 

Code of Ethics for Licensed/Certified Staff

Although this is the standard set for licensed/certified staff in statutes, it also applies to ALL employees of the District. Specific information is contained in LMS Board Policy G-0750, Code of Conduct.

6.60.9.9 Standards of Professional Conduct

We, licensed New Mexico educators acknowledge that ethical values in our schools cannot exist without ethical leadership. It is our ultimate goal to educate children so that they may become productive citizens; we understand that our guidance and ability to provide choices have a profound effect on reaching this goal. In affording students and each other choices, we agree to consider the consequence of each choice, the moral value best exemplified by the recommended choice, and our position on the choice if it were applied to us. These principles apply equally to all licensed educators in all schools except where they are uniquely applicable to public schools or where they conflict with principles of religious freedom.

Moral values are to ethical leadership what years of experience are to a successful educator. The former sets the stage for the success of the latter. Abstract principles that espouse excellence do not easily equate to simple behavioral maxims. We are certain that some foundational concepts can be embraced because they truly celebrate desirable moral values. These concepts are as follows: respect for one's self and others, honesty and openness, the delicate balance between absolute freedom and safety, the equally delicate balance between confidentiality and the right to know, equality of opportunity, fairness to all, and personal integrity.

In the final analysis, it is our consistent ethical leadership that wins the most allies and produces the best results. Not only does this code highlight our professional responsibilities, but also it stimulates us to discuss the professional implications of our ethical choices and ethical recommendations, causes us to assess and reassess our application of moral values, and sets forth concrete behaviors appropriate for education professionals. We are committed to this code and understand that it provides minimally accepted standards of professional conduct in education.

Standard I – Duty to the student. We endeavor to stimulate students to think and to learn while at the same time, we seek to protect them from any harm. Ethical leadership requires licensed educators to teach not only by use of pedagogical tools but also by consistent and justifiable personal example. To satisfy this obligation, we:

  • shall, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g, 34C.F.R. Part 99), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1401 et seq., 34 C.F.R. Part 80), the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Section 43-1-19, NMSA 1978), the Inspection of Public Records Act (Section 14-2-1  et seq., NMSA 1978), the Public School Code (Section 22-1-8, NMSA 1978), and the Children's Code (Sections 32A-2-32, 32A-4-3, NMSA 1978), withhold confidential student records or information about a student or his/her personal and family life unless the release of information is allowed, permitted by the student's parent(s)/legal guardian, or required by law;
  • shall not discriminate or permit students within our control, supervision, or responsibility to discriminate against any other student on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or serious medical condition;
  • shall avoid using our positions as licensed school employees to exploit or unduly influence a student into engaging in an illegal act, immoral act, or any other behavior that would subject a licensed school employee or student to discipline for misconduct whether or not the student actually engages in the behavior;
  • shall tutor students only in accordance with local board policies, if any, only after written permission from the student's parent(s)/legal guardian, and only at a place or time approved by the local school and/or the student's parent(s)/legal guardian;
  • shall not give a gift to any one (1) student unless all students situated similarly receive or are offered gifts of equal value for the same reason;
  • shall not lend a student money except in clear and occasional circumstances, such as where a student may go without food or beverage or be unable to participate in a school activity without financial assistance;
  • shall not have inappropriate contact with any student, whether or not on school property, which includes but is not limited to:
  • all forms of sexual touching, sexual relations, or romantic relations;
  • inappropriate touching which is any physical touching, embracing, petting, hand-holding, or kissing that is unwelcome by the student or is otherwise inappropriate given the age, sex, and maturity of the student;
  • any open displays of affection toward mostly boys or mostly girls; and
  • offering or giving a ride to a student unless absolutely unavoidable as when a student has missed his/her usual transportation and is unable to make reasonable substitute arrangements;
  • shall not interfere with a student's right to public education by sexually harassing a student or permitting students within our control, supervision, or responsibility to sexually harass any other student, which prohibited behavior includes:
  • making any sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, repeated sexual references, any name-calling by means of sexual references or references directed at gender-specific students, or any other verbal or physical conduct of a physical nature with a student even where the licensed educator believes the student consents or the student actually initiates the activity, and any display/distribution of sexually oriented materials where students can see them; and
  • creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work/school environment by at a minimum engaging in any of the prohibited behaviors set forth at Paragraph (7) or Subparagraph (a) of Paragraph (8), Subsection B of 6.60.9.9 NMAC, above.

Standard II – Duty to the profession. The education profession has been vested by the public with an awesome trust and responsibility. To live up to that lofty expectation, we must continually engender public confidence in the integrity of our profession and must strive consistently in educating the children of New Mexico, all of whom will one day shape the future. To satisfy this obligation, we:

  • shall not make a false or misleading statement or fail to disclose a material fact in any application for educational employment or licensure;
  • shall not orally or in writing misrepresent our professional qualifications;
  • shall not assist persons into educational employment whom we know to be unqualified in respect to their character, education, or employment history;
  • shall not make a false or misleading statement concerning the qualifications of anyone in or desiring employment in education;
  • shall not permit or assist unqualified or unauthorized persons to engage in teaching or other employment within a school;
  • shall not disclose personal, medical, or other confidential information about other educational colleagues to anyone unless disclosure is required or authorized by law;
  • shall not knowingly make false or derogatory personal comments about an educational colleague, although the first amendment protected comments on or off-campus are not prohibited;
  • shall not accept any gratuity, gift, meal, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, favor, or other item having monetary value whose market value exceeds one hundred dollars ($100), excluding approved educational awards, honoraria, plaques, trophies, and prizes;
  • shall avoid conduct connected with official duties that are unfair, improper, illegal or give the appearance of being improper or illegal;
  • shall not sexually harass any school employee, any school visitor, or anyone else we might encounter in the course of our official duties, which includes:
  • making any sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, repeated sexual references, and name-calling by means of sexual references or references directed at any gender-specific individuals named above;
  • making any other verbal gesture or physical conduct with any of the above-named individuals even where the licensed educator believes they consent, or they actually initiate the activity;
  • displaying or distributing any sexually oriented materials where the above-named individuals can see them; and
  • creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work/school environment by engaging in any of the prohibited behaviors set forth in Subparagraphs (a), (b), or (c), Paragraph (10), Subsection C of 6.60.9.9 NMAC, above;
  • shall educate oneself at least annually about avoiding sexual harassment by either attending periodic training, reviewing sexual harassment literature or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines found in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1604 (29 C.F.R. Section 1604.1 et seq.) or contacting appropriate school human resources personnel;
  • shall not engage in inappropriate displays of affection, even with consenting adults, while on school property or during school events off-campus;
  • shall not without permission of a supervisor use public school property to conduct personal business or our personal affairs;
  • shall use educational facilities and property only for educational purposes or purposes for which they are intended consistent with applicable policy, law, and regulation;
  • shall not discriminate against any school employee or any other person with whom we have any dealings or contact in the course of our official duties, on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or serious medical condition;
  • shall not engage in any outside employment:
  • the performance of which conflicts with our public school duties, such as where a licensed educator takes a private job that would require performance in the very school district where he/she is employed;
  • where we use confidential/privileged information obtained from our public school employees as part or all of our private employment duties; and
  • that impairs our physical ability to perform our school duties;
  • shall not, with the intent to conceal/confuse a fact, change or alter any writing or encourage anyone else to change or alter any document:
  • in connection with our official school duties;
  • in connection with another licensed person's official school duties;
  • in connection with any standardized or non-standardized testing;
  • in connection with any school application or disclosure process; and
  • in connection with any writing submitted to the public education department related to our initial or continued licensure, including endorsements;
  • shall not in connection with any State Board-approved teacher test knowingly make any misrepresentations about one's identity, or engage in any false or deceptive acts of test-taking or test-registering;
  • shall not engage in any conduct or make any statement:
  • that would breach the security of any standardized or non-standardized tests;
  • that would ignore administering portions or the entirety of any standardized or non-standardized testing instructions;
  • that would give students an unfair advantage in taking a standardized or non-standardized test;
  • that would give a particular school or a particular classroom an unfair advantage in taking a standardized or non-standardized test; and
  • that would assist students in obtaining services or benefits for which they do not qualify or are not entitled;
  • shall not, when on school property or off-campus while representing the school or attending a school function, engage in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud, or otherwise disorderly conduct that tends to disturb the peace.
  • shall not hold, or continue to hold, employment for which educator licensure or certification is required when the individual knew, should have known, or is informed by the State Public Education Department (PED), that the individual does not hold the required credentials; and
  • shall not use school information technology equipment, hardware, software, or internet access to view, download, display, store, or print pornographic images or advertisements, nude images, or sexually explicit depictions or language;
  • shall not engage in unprofessional conduct, which conduct shall include but not be limited to the following:
  • striking, assaulting, or restraining a student for no valid reason;
  • using any written or spoken words in public schools or at school events that are inflammatory, derogatory, or otherwise demonstrate a bias against a person or group, on the basis of their race, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual preference, sexuality, or physical disability;
  • bringing firearms onto school property or possessing them on school property, except with proper authorization;
  • possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages at school;
  • possessing or using illegal drugs;
  • being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at school;
  • actively obstructing an investigation into the possible unethical or illegal conduct of a school employee; and
  • engaging in favoritism or preferential treatment toward any school employee or applicant in regard to that individual's hiring, discipline, terms of employment, working conditions, or work performance due to that individual's familial relationship with the licensee;
  • shall report any knowledge of inappropriate contact, as provided by Paragraph (7) of Subsection B of 6.60.9.9 NMAC with a student or other school employee to the local school authority within thirty (30) days of obtaining such knowledge.

Sanctions

The standards of professional conduct establish minimal standards of accepted professional conduct with which all educators and administrators are required to comply. Therefore, the Secretary of Education through the professional licensure unit ("licensure unit") of the public education department (PED), may revoke or suspend the licensure of any person or may deny applications for licensure or re-licensure to any person, who is within the scope of the department regulation and who after the hearing is found to have failed to comply with one (1) or more of the enumerated provisions of the standards of professional conduct set forth in Section 6.60.9.9 NMAC, exclusive of the preamble.

In General

All employees of the District are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with effective and orderly education and to protect students and District property. No employee shall, by action or inaction, interfere with or disrupt any District activity or encourage any such disruption. No employee, other than one who has obtained authorization from the appropriate school administrator, shall carry or possess a weapon on school grounds. All employees shall at all times attempt to maintain order, abide by the policies, rules, and regulations of the District, and carry out all applicable orders issued by the Superintendent.

Licensed personnel are to follow statements of ethics and standards of conduct indicated in NMAC 6.60.9.8 NMAC and 6.60.9.9 NMAC. All School District personnel, employees, and school volunteers are directed to make themselves aware of and follow federal and state laws, School Board policies, procedures, and regulations regarding ethics and conduct.

Investigation and Reporting of Alleged Ethical Misconduct

Any School District personnel, school employee, school volunteer, contractor, or contractor's employee who knows or has a reasonable suspicion that a child or student has been subject to ethical misconduct by any School District personnel, school employee, school volunteer, contractor, or contractor's employee shall report the matter to:

  • the Superintendent; or
  • the department.

If a Superintendent receives a report of ethical misconduct, the Superintendent shall immediately transmit to the department by telephone the facts of the report and the name, address, and telephone number of the reporter. The Superintendent shall transmit the same information in writing within forty-eight (48) hours. A school shall take immediate steps to ensure the safety of enrolled students. The identity of any alleged victims will be protected.

A written report shall contain the name, address, and age of the child or student; the child's or student's parents, guardians, or custodians; the School District personnel, school employee, school volunteer, contractor, or contractor's employee who is alleged to have committed ethical misconduct; and any evidence of ethical misconduct, including the nature and extent of any injuries and other information that the maker of the report believes might be helpful to investigate a report of ethical misconduct. The written report shall be submitted in a standardized form developed by the department. All written reports are to be filed by date and name and are to include any information received or gathered in any investigation. Such records are to be made available to the office of investigation: the Superintendent, Department, or law enforcement.

The person making the report shall be notified by the office receiving the report within five (5) days (mailed within five [5] days) by mail or other notification that the report is being investigated.

The Superintendent shall investigate all allegations of ethical misconduct about any School District personnel, school employee, school volunteer, contractor, or contractor's employee who resigns, is being discharged or terminated, or otherwise leaves employment after an allegation has been made. If the investigation results in a finding of ethical misconduct by a licensed school employee, the Superintendent shall report the identity of the licensed school employee and attendant circumstances of the ethical misconduct on a standardized form to the department and the licensed school employee within thirty (30) days following the separation from employment or immediately if the finding of the ethical misconduct is sexual misconduct with an adult or child.

The Superintendent shall also report allegations of sexual assault or sexual abuse involving any School District personnel, school employee, school volunteer, contractor, or a contractor's employee to the appropriate law enforcement agency. No agreement between a departing school employee and the Governing Authority or Superintendent shall diminish or eliminate the responsibility of investigating and reporting the alleged ethical misconduct to the department or if legally mandated, to law enforcement, and any such agreement to the contrary is void.

The Secretary of Education may initiate action to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the license of:

  • a Superintendent who fails to report ethical misconduct;
  • any licensed School District personnel or licensed school employee who fails to report child abuse or neglect pursuant to Section 32A-4-3 NMSA 1978;
  • any licensed School District or school employee who fails to report ethical misconduct in accord with the School Personnel Act and statutes.

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 7: Workplace Rules/Information/Procedures

Building Use

After-hours use of buildings must be scheduled through the Operations Department. Please schedule as far in advance as possible with a minimum of two (2) weeks' notice. Some activities require additional paperwork and insurance forms to be completed prior to the use of District facilities. All after-hours use requires prior approval. Staff working in their rooms/offices after regular hours and having their own children/family members with them must supervise them closely. The children/family members should not roam the halls or be in a different part of the facility away from the employee. Children may not play in gyms while staff members work in the building.

Because of liability and safety issues, employees are not allowed to provide access to the District’s facilities without prior approval. Employees are not to let groups or individuals in a building or allow them to remain in a building unless the employee received prior approval from the Operations Department. This includes family members, church groups, friends, little league teams, etc.

Coaching/Increment-Related Assignments

The “Extra Duty” assignments discussed previously do not pertain to positions for which staff members are given extended days or increments, such as coaching assignments or extended sponsoring assignments. For these positions, staff members may be assigned on an as-needed basis, at the discretion of the District. In some cases, assignments may be a condition of continued employment.

Copyright Compliance

A variety of machines and equipment for reproducing materials is available to staff.   

All reproduction of copyrighted material shall be conducted strictly by applicable provisions of the law.  Employees in violation of copyright laws may be required to remunerate the District in the event of loss due to litigation and may be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.

If you have a specific question about the copyright laws or District policy, refer to LMS Board Policy E-3900 or contact the staff in the Instructional Resource Center at the District Administration Office.

Conflict of Interest/ Gifts

It is unlawful for a public officer or licensed employee to take an official act for the primary purpose of directly enhancing a personal financial interest or position. An employee shall not, directly or indirectly, solicit, sell, or be a party to a transaction to solicit or sell a product or service to the school or District. This does not apply to an individual making a sale in the regular course of business while complying with the procurement laws and rules of the State of New Mexico

No person shall sell or use a student, faculty, or staff list with personal identifying information obtained from the District for the purpose of direct marketing of goods or services except for legitimate educational purposes or with the authorized release of each individual on the list(s).

No employee will accept gifts from a person, group, or entity doing or desiring to do business with the District. The acceptance of any business-related gratuity is specifically prohibited, except for widely distributed advertising items of nominal value.

Drug-Free Workplace

Per Board Policy G-0950, no employee shall violate the law or District policy in the manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use, on or in the workplace, of alcohol or any narcotic drug, a hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, or any other controlled substance, as defined in schedules I through V of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and as further defined by regulation at 21 C.F.R. 1308.11 through 1308.15.

Workplace includes any school building or any school premises and any school-owned vehicle or any other school-approved vehicle used to transport staff members or students to and from school or school activities or on school business. Off-school property, the workplace includes any school-sponsored or school-approved activity, event, or function where students or staff members are under the jurisdiction of the District. In addition, the workplace shall include all property owned, leased, or used by the District for any educational or District business purpose.

Any employee who violates this policy in any manner is subject to discipline, which may include but is not limited to, dismissal.

Employee Accidents and Injuries

If an employee is injured or if an accident occurs while he/she is at work, he/she must notify the building administrator or supervisor. Regardless of the severity of the accident, the necessary accident forms must be completed. If an injury is work-related, the supervisor or designee should report the incident to the Workers' Compensation Clerk at the District Administration Office as soon as possible. A Notice of Accident form must be completed and signed by the employee and the supervisor or designee. Additional Workers' Compensation forms are required to be completed by the employee and/or supervisor. Proper forms must be turned in to the Workers Compensation Clerk at the District Administration Office within twenty-four (24) hours. If the supervisor foresees the employee may need extensive leave, he/she should contact the Human Resources Department immediately. Additional forms may need to be completed by the employee for the Payroll Department if extended leave is necessary.

The District has procedures for complying with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), including an exposure-control plan, methods of compliance, work-practice controls, post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, and administering vaccines to employees exposed to the Hepatitis B virus. All employees who, as a result of their employment, have had significant exposure to bloodborne pathogens are required to report the details of exposure, in writing, to their immediate supervisor as well as the Director of Health Services. The employee is also required to follow the District procedure to complete this process. An employee who chooses to not complete the reporting requirements will be at risk of losing any rights to a claim.

Employment Recommendations/Job References

No employee is authorized to issue a written or oral employment reference or recommendation for a current or former employee except in compliance with the following:

  • No employee may issue or provide an employment reference or recommendation in his/her capacity as an employee for a current or former employee orally - all such references or recommendations shall be in writing only. If online forms must be completed, a copy of the form must be given to the Human Resources Department for approval
  • No employee may issue or provide an employment reference or recommendation in his/her capacity as an employee for a current or former employee without first:
    • Receiving the written authorization of the reference or recommendation from the Human Resources Department.
    • Providing a copy of the proposed reference or recommendation to the Human Resources Department for approval; and
  • An employee who wishes to provide an employment reference or recommendation in his/her personal capacity for a current or former employee, without the authorization or endorsement of the District, shall observe the following limitations and conditions:
    • No employee providing such personal reference or recommendation orally may do so during work hours, while on District property, or through the use of a telephone or other communication media owned by the District;
    • No employee providing such personal reference or recommendation in writing may do so during work hours, while on District property, or with the use of District or school letterhead, or through communication media owned by the District, or by other means that suggest District authorization or agreement; and
    • An employee providing an oral or written reference or recommendation shall specify that he/she is speaking for himself/herself and not on behalf of the District.

Energy Conservation and Management

All employees are expected to contribute to energy efficiency in the District. Turning off lights, computers, copiers, and other equipment when not in use and maintaining appropriate temperatures within work areas are responsible acts all employees are expected to follow. 

Extra Duty

Principals/supervisors will inform employees of after-school activities, which they are expected to attend. The principal/supervisor will make all assignments on an equitable basis. All supervisors will adhere to the requirements for non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act in differentiating between volunteer work and assignments related to the employee’s position.

Staff desiring consideration for additional paid assignments in summer school, remediation programs, or school activities should direct their specific questions to the directors of said programs. A completed application should be sent to the appropriate director. All positions are considered temporary and are based on the needs of each program. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Human Resources Department.

The Superintendent will recommend to the Board an extra-duty pay system for extra class activities each year for its review and action.

Licensed school instructors who volunteer for noon duty will receive two (2) days off to replacement of noon duty time. Employees will notify the building principal at least three (3) days in advance of their intention to use this earned leave.

Any increment/supplemental duties assigned to an employee for which pay is received may be modified or discontinued at any time by the District. An employee who requests to relinquish a paid increment/supplemental duty must do so with a written request and the subsequent approval of the Superintendent. This policy does not create any continued contractual obligation to any employee; employees shall hold no expectancy of continuing employment in any assigned incremental/supplemental duty.

Internal Controls and Procedures related to School Business

The Lovington Municipal School District has established these procedures to maintain internal control over all assets. The purpose of establishing internal controls is to provide a reasonable assurance that the District will accomplish its objective of safeguarding assets, providing reliable financial information, promoting operational efficiency, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations and established District policies.

These procedures are reviewed periodically for applicable changes per legislative and audit directives, etc.  Any procedures not specified in this manual shall be reviewed and approved by the Superintendent of Schools.

In addition to these controls and procedures, the following will apply, unless otherwise specified:

  • Manual of Procedures maintained by PED Budget and Finance Department
  • NM State Audit Rule
  • NM State Statutes including Procurement 13-1-1 to 13-1-199
  • NM Administrative Code (NMAC)
  • Lovington Municipal Schools Policy
  • DFA Regulations

The entire Internal Controls and Procedures Manual can be accessed on the Business Office page of the Lovington Schools Website or by clicking here.

Keys

Keys for District facilities must not be reproduced, duplicated, or obtained from any source other than the Maintenance Department. The unauthorized possession, use, or reproduction of a District key may constitute theft or misappropriation of District property. An employee who violates these procedures may be subject to disciplinary action.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Employees shall only use District keys for access to their assigned work areas and lock doors when leaving.
  • Employees must also ensure that keys are safeguarded and properly used.
  • At the end of each school year, mid-term transfer, or termination of employment, keys must be returned to the site administrator.
  • Employees may not loan out or exchange assigned keys.
  • Employees must immediately report lost keys and key cards to the site administrator.

Lost Keys

Lost building keys can pose a serious security issue. Employees must immediately report lost or stolen keys and key cards to the appropriate site administrator. The employee to whom the key(s) was issued is responsible for its use. The employee who lost the key may be held liable for costs incurred in re-coring all accessible areas.

Nonrefundable Fees for Lost Keys:

$100 per key up to three (3) keys

$25 for lost key cards

Maintenance and Control of District Property 

Employees are responsible for the proper care of District facilities, equipment, and property in their custody or control. If the negligence of the employee is determined to be the cause of damage to facilities, equipment, or property, the employee may be required to compensate the District for damages.

Employees may be allowed personal use of school equipment/materials if assigned to them, not in conflict with the law, is within district policies and procedure, and the District does not incur any expense due to the use. If the equipment/material is lost or damaged during personal use, the employee shall be required to reimburse the District for repair or replacement.

Organization Membership

The District will not directly or indirectly discourage employees from participating in political affairs or require an employee to join any group, committee, or association. Employees may join or refuse to join any professional organization. A staff member’s employment will not be affected by membership or the decision not to be a member of an employee or community organization that exists for the purpose of dealing with grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.

Personal Property Replacement/Restitution

The District shall not assume responsibility for the loss or damage to personal property stored, installed, or used on school property. If personal items are brought to work, it is the employee’s responsibility to secure them appropriately. It is recommended that employees not bring valuable personal items to the workplace.

Political Activities

Employees have the right to engage in political activity during off-duty hours. The employee shall make it clear while engaged in political activity that the utterances and actions are his/hers as an individual and that they in no manner represent the views of Lovington Municipal Schools. Employees shall not engage in partisan political activity on school property during business hours or while meeting his/her district responsibilities. Each employee shall request a leave of absence if an extended community or political activity interferes with his/her employment or District responsibilities. Or, the District must grant permission through the “Community Use of School Facilities” policy for political activities.

    

Political circulars or petitions may not be posted or distributed in the workplace. The collection of campaign funds and/or solicitation of campaign workers are prohibited on school property. The use of students for political influence is prohibited. The use of District supplies, materials, buildings, or other resources to influence the outcome of an election is not permitted.

Public Appearances

Staff members appearing before public or professional groups may not speak for the District unless specifically authorized by the Superintendent or Board.

Purchases With School Money

Employees are expected to adhere to all purchasing requirements. No cash purchases are to be made without specific permission from the building principal. All purchases will be made with purchase orders generated by the building principal or the school’s secretary before the purchase. 

If you have a situation where you need to purchase an item from a company that does not take a school purchase order, check with your supervisor before the purchase. Please contact your supervisor or the Chief Procurement Officer if you have questions regarding purchases with school money.         

Nepotism/Supervision of Relatives

A person who is the spouse, father, father-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, brother, brother-law, sister, or sister-in-law of a member of the Board may not be initially employed or approved for employment in any capacity in the District. Nothing in this section of this policy shall prohibit the continued employment of such a person employed on or before March 1, 2003. No school employee may be the immediate supervisor of a close relative (restrictions listed above).

Non-School Employment

A regular, full-time employee's position in the District shall be given precedence over any type of non-school or self-employment. Employees are free to carry on individual work or self-employment projects as long as District facilities, equipment, or school(s) are not used, except as provided by the policy, and the non-school work or self-employment does not interfere with the employee’s work performance. An employee may not perform duties related to non-school work or self-employment during regular District work hours or during the additional time needed to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. Employees who violate this policy are subject to reprimand, suspension, or termination.

Safety Drills

Each school will conduct emergency drills during the first four (4) weeks of the school year, each school shall conduct one (1) shelter-in-place drill that includes preparation to respond to an active shooter, one (1) evacuation drill, and two (2) fire drills. During the rest of the school year, each school shall conduct at least four (4) more emergency drills, at least two (2) of which shall be fire drills. Teachers are required to take a list of their current enrollment and daily attendance with them during drills to account for their students. All staff on campus must participate in the drills.

School Mail/Personal Mail 

A school mail service is maintained to allow staff to communicate effectively in ways related to their job responsibilities. This service, however, is restricted to materials and communications related to official school business and the educational purposes of the District.

Employees are directed not to have personal mail, including packages, delivered to the school; personal mail should be delivered to the employee’s home address. Also, employees are not to place personal mail (bill payments, personal letters, etc.) in the outgoing mail. Employees have no expectation of privacy in the mail that is delivered by this service. District officials may open and inspect mail utilized by this service. The District shall not be liable for items lost or opened, nor damage or injury incurred by an individual as a result of the mail service.

Security of Buildings

The security of District buildings and rooms is essential for the protection of both District and personal assets and equipment. Lovington Municipal Schools considers the safety of all students and staff a priority. These guidelines are designed to control access to District buildings thereby enhancing overall security as well as promoting accountability and preventing loss of property.

Solicitation/Distribution of Materials

An employee's position in the District shall not be used to influence parents or students to purchase books or other merchandise, except for materials approved by the Superintendent for use in the classroom.

Solicitation(s) of employees and/or students for profit, nonprofit or charitable groups, institutions, or organizations must have prior approval from the Superintendent. Solicitations or distribution of non-District literature by staff members must have PRIOR approval by the Superintendent and/or his/her designee. No other solicitations shall be made by or of employees during official work time. The Superintendent will establish procedures so staff members are not disturbed during the workday by solicitors and, in turn, encourage staff members to refrain from solicitations that involve the school system, other than for authorized purposes.

Staff Dress Code

LMS Board Regulation G-0900, Staff Dress Code states that all employees will set a positive example for students. Employees will present or create a professional or identifiable appearance for students and the public. In addition, employees will promote a positive work environment and limit distractions to the educational process caused by outrageous, provocative, or inappropriate dress.

Employees issued uniforms are to wear them consistently as provided, or intended, and maintain them properly. Uniforms are not to be worn during off-duty hours, except while traveling to and from work. Employees are to comply with the direction of their immediate supervisor in adhering to this policy.

Telephone/Cell Phone Usage

Employees will not be expected to answer telephone calls except in cases of urgency. No personal long-distance calls are to be made on a school phone unless approved by the principal/supervisor. 

The use of cell phones by employees will be governed by the principal/supervisor. Cell phones should only be used in cases of urgency and should not disrupt the work schedule or educational services. An employee’s inappropriate use of a cell phone, telephone, or another electronic device may be considered misconduct, and disciplinary action may be taken.

Tobacco-Free Policy

The use, possession, and distribution of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid containers, alcoholic beverages, mood-altering substances, and illicit drugs are prohibited in the following locations:  school grounds, school buildings, school parking lots, school playing fields, school buses, District vehicles, and off-campus school-sponsored events. These prohibitions do not apply to an adult when possession or use of tobacco products are for demonstration purposes as a necessary instructional component of a tobacco prevention or cessation program, which has been approved by the District or established by the New Mexico Revised Statute.

Travel

All in-state travel requires prior approval by the Superintendent and the Supervisor. Any travel request that covers two or more days’ time must be accompanied by an agenda showing the dates and times of the meeting to be attended. A Leave Request must be submitted and approved by the Building Principal, Program Director,  and in some cases the Superintendent. A Transportation Request must also be submitted (if a District vehicle is to be used) at least one week in advance. Mileage on personal vehicles will only be reimbursed if a school vehicle is not available when the request is made and approved by the Superintendent in advance. A PO must be in place for meals or other travel expenses prior to the trip.

Please note the following information for District vehicles:

  • District vehicle key, gas card, and approved transportation request documentation must be picked up at the the District Administration Building during business hours. For weekend travel, these items must be picked up prior to 4:00 Friday.
  • Only unleaded gasoline (not premium or plus) may be used to fill District vehicles. In the event that a higher grade of gasoline is used, the employee may be required to reimburse the district the difference in cost. 
  • Fuel Receipts must be turned in with the credit card, keys and transportation documents upon return. If return is after hours, place all items in the mail slot at the District Administration Building located near the main entrance; otherwise, turn in items to the District Administration Building receptionist. 
  • If an issue arises, with vehicles, gas cards, or keys, please contact the Director of Operations.

In the event an outside organization pays an employee per diem for a trip, the employee shall not seek additional per diem from the District. For example, in the event that a District employee serves on a state Department of Education committee or task force and receives per diem for any related travel, then the employee shall not request per diem from the District.

In the event an employee uses a school vehicle to attend a meeting and is reimbursed for mileage from an outside organization, the employee shall remit the mileage amount to the District.

Reimbursement amounts shall not exceed the maximums established pursuant to the Mileage and Reimbursement Act, NM Statutes 10-8-1 through 10-8-8.

Please follow the steps below for hotel reservations:

  • Create a requisition for a credit card.
  • Once requisition is approved a PO will generate. 
  • Bring the PO to the Business Office to check out a credit card
  • Use the credit card to reserve a room(s) then return the card to the Business Office.
  • Prior to travel, return to the Business Office to obtain a credit card and authorization of use letter for travel.
  • Upon check-in, use the new credit card for payment for the room.  You must use your own credit/debit card for incidental charges.
  • Upon return, submit signed PO, credit card, and receipts to the Business Office.
  • If an issue arises with the use of the card, please contact the Business Office.

Employees and Board Members will maintain the highest standards while utilizing District vehicles and other movable assets. District vehicles and gas cards are to be used for official school/District business only. Misuse of vehicles and other movable assets may result in disciplinary action.

District vehicles are to be used for authorized employees, Board Members, or passengers. An authorized passenger is defined as a District employee, Board Member, or any person on official school/District business. Traffic citations or parking tickets are the responsibility of the authorized driver. The authorized driver will lock school vehicles when left unattended and store personal items in the trunk. Vehicles must be returned with all trash removed.

Employees or Board Members who are authorized to drive District-owned vehicles shall be subject to random drug testing.

Cancellation of driving privileges shall result for the following reasons, but not limited to:

  • If an authorized driver transports an unauthorized passenger or permits an unauthorized person to drive. (The authorized driver may be held personally liable for personal injury, death, or property damage arising from the unauthorized use of the District vehicle).
  • If an authorized driver is driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
  • If an authorized driver fails to obey the driving laws of the State of New Mexico or a legal entity of the State.
  • If an authorized driver tests positive in a random drug test.

Weapons in the Workplace

No weapons, guns, etc. are to be brought into the workplace. Violators will be subject to severe federal and state penalties.  Section 30-31-2 through 30-31-41 NMSA 1978.

Work Hours

All staff members shall report to their duty stations on time each workday and shall, as scheduled, be available until their designated departure time(s). The Superintendent may alter or extend the school day for meetings, special events, or activities.

Professional staff members are expected to be in their respective rooms or work areas as the schedule prescribed to be available for students, and parents, and/or attend to other assigned duties. All staff members will conduct themselves in a way that will meet these expectations.

To ensure the safety of students and the security of school campuses, teachers may be assigned supervisory duties during the workday. Duty assignments shall be considered a regular part of a teacher's assignment and shall be fulfilled accordingly. The principal will schedule extra duty assignments. Teachers shall be provided a thirty (30) minute, duty-free lunch.

Support staff will also conduct themselves in a way that allows them to meet these requirements. Any employee who is not at his/her duty station must have given prior notification to their supervisor.

Vandalism

A staff member who observes or has direct knowledge of an act of vandalism to public school property shall file a report describing the incident under established procedures. Reports will be made to the site supervisor or the Operations Department. A person who files a report shall not be discriminated against in any manner or discharged by the Superintendent due to the incident filing.

Receiving and Depositing Money

All money collected from students must be receipted. A copy of the receipt(s) and the money must be turned in to the school office on the day it is received. This includes money brought to or earned at school by students for any purpose such as organization dues, school pictures, book fines, book fair sales, fundraisers, field trip deposits, and book club purchases.

The school principal or designee will be responsible to deposit money daily in the bank. If an employee has a situation where money will be collected after the school’s office is closed, follow the direction of your principal in securing the money until the next school day. Generally, this will mean locking the money in a school safe.

Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy - Computer and Network/Internet Guidelines and Conditions of Use

Computer and network access, including Internet access, is available to students and staff of the District. LMS is a Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant School District and therefore is required to use a content filtering system to regulate access to and from Internet sites. Please read this Acceptable Use Policy carefully. Our goal in offering these services to our school community is to promote educational excellence in schools by providing resource sharing, innovation, and communication.

Technology offers the potential of access to such services as:

  • Computer-based tools and applications
  • Instructional resources and materials
  • Networked references, research sources, and library catalogs
  • Electronic communication services
  • Global information and news
  • Correspondence with other institutions
  • Online publishing and information sharing
  • Social networking

With access to computers and people all over the world also comes the availability of material that may not be considered educationally valuable in the context of the school setting. However, on a global network, it is impossible to control access to all materials, and an industrious user may discover controversial information. LMS firmly believes that the valuable information and interaction available on this worldwide network far outweigh the possibility that users may acquire material inconsistent with the educational goals of the District. The smooth operation of the network relies upon the proper conduct of the end-users who must strictly adhere to the following guidelines and conditions of use. These guidelines are provided so that users are aware of the responsibilities they are about to acquire. In general, this requires ethical and legal utilization of the computer and network resources.

This Acceptable Use Policy is binding on all users of the LMS school community site as a matter of law, whether this agreement is signed or not. The guidelines and conditions outlined in this policy in no way limit the School District’s prerogative to manage its technology systems as it sees fit or restrict its authority to take any actions it deems necessary to adequately supervise, protect, and if necessary, discipline students and staff. LMS reserves the right to revise this policy at any time, and all revisions will take effect immediately, upon approval by the LMS administrators.

Acceptable Use

The purpose of educational technology in LMS is to support its educational goals. Your use of technology must be consistent with the educational objectives of LMS. The use of computer systems and networks imposes certain responsibilities and obligations on users and is subject to LMS policies and local, state, and federal laws. Acceptable use must always be ethical, reflect honesty, and show courtesy in the utilization of shared resources. It demonstrates respect for intellectual property, ownership of information, and system security mechanisms.

Privileges/Consequences

The use of technology is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use may result in the restriction of privileges and other disciplinary actions. Listed below are examples of user activities that LMS deems inappropriate and in violation of this policy. LMS reserves the right to expand this list as necessary. LMS retains the right to deny, revoke, or suspend specific user privileges or restrict access to technology resources, require payment for any damage, and bring criminal charges if deemed necessary. Any material used, generated, received, or stored by any user through the use of LMS computers, networks, or another technology is subject to review. The LMS Technology Department has been given the responsibility of monitoring all network activities. LMS reserves the right to examine, restrict, or remove any material that is on or passes through its technology systems. Access to electronic information related to any student or staff member will be governed by the same policies that would apply to that information if it were not in electronic form. Parents, or legal guardians, may request to see the content of any material created or accessed by their child(ren), if technically possible.

Examples of user activities that violate this policy:

  • Commercial advertising or unethical/illegal solicitation
  • Accessing a file or website that contains pornographic or obscene pictures, videos, stories, or other material; making copies of such material, or distributing or exposing others to such material
  • Using copyrighted material without permission when such is required
  • Sending or receiving messages that are obscene, profane, racist, sexist, inflammatory, threatening, disruptive, violent, or slanderous toward others
  • Creating, distributing, and/or placing a computer virus on the network or any workstation
  • Sending   messages   or   information   with   someone   else’s   name   on   it   or misrepresenting the source of information you enter or send
  • Harassing others or requesting or distributing addresses, home phone numbers, or other personal information
  • Cyber-Bullying
  • Sending chain letters or engaging in  "spamming"  (sending an annoying or unnecessary message to large numbers of people).
  • Purchasing goods and/or services, which obligates LMS to another party.
  • Revealing home addresses, e-mail addresses, or phone numbers of other students or colleagues.
  • Sharing passwords. The only person to ever use a password is the authorized person to whom it has been issued by LMS.
  • Attempting to access and/or alter information in restricted areas of any network or in any way violates the confidentiality rights of other users on any network.
  • Failing to report violations of this policy or other conditions that may interfere with the appropriate and efficient use of school resources. Users are required to report any of the following to a teacher, supervisor, or the building network administrator as soon as the following are discovered:
    • Any messages, files, websites, or user activities that contain materials that violate this policy.
    • Any messages, files, websites, or user activities that solicit personal information about you or someone else, or request personal contact with you or another user (i.e. asks for your address, phone number, photograph, e-mail address, or other personal information for any network site, credit card number, Social Security number, or to meet you.)
    • Attempts by any user to abuse or damage the system; violate the security of the network and its resources; obtain access to secure, restricted, or confidential information without authority from LMS; hacking.
    • Any illegal activity or violation of school policy.
    • Political Lobbying
    • Fundraisers
    • Chat Rooms
    • Instant Messaging Sites
    • Streaming Video (watching full-length movies, etc. over the network)
    • Do not allow ANY non-LMS employee to “work on”, “fix”, use, or download unauthorized programs or features on School District computers (desktop, laptop, or mobile device)

Security

Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. Any user identified as a security risk or having a history of problems with other computer systems may be subject to severe restrictions or cancellation of privileges. LMS reserves the right to examine, restrict and/or remove any material that is on or passes through its technology systems. Access to electronic information related to any student or staff member will be governed by the same policies that would apply to that information if it were not in electronic form.

If you feel you have identified a security problem on the network:

  • You must notify the Coordinator of Technology as well as your immediate supervisor.
  • Do not demonstrate the problem to other users

Security Violations

  1. Attempts to log on to any network, as a system administrator
  2. Attempts to compromise the security, integrity, and functionality of any LMS technology system
  3. Possession of tools, which are designed to do so, while on school property
  4. Uploading or creation of computer viruses
  5. Deletion or alteration of other users’ files
  6. Loading of applications removing protection from restricted areas
  7. Unauthorized blocking of access to:
  • Information
  • Applications
  • Areas of the network
  1. Introduce or attach any software or hardware to the technology used in LMS, which is not authorized by the Coordinator of Technology.
  2. Modification to any hardware or software owned or managed by LMS, which is not authorized by the Coordinator of Technology.

Network Etiquette

The user is expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. (NEPN/NSBA Code: IJNDB E2)

  1. Users shall be polite in all communications.
  2. Use appropriate language; swearing and vulgar language are considered inappropriate.
  3. Do not reveal the home addresses, e-mail addresses, or phone numbers of other students or colleagues.
  4. Electronic mail (e-mail) is not guaranteed to be private. LMS scans all emails for viruses, malware, adware, spyware, spam, and content.
  5. Do not use the network in any way that would disrupt its use by other users.
  6. Messages relating to, or in support of, illegal activities may be reported to the authorities.
  7. Consider that communications and information belonging to other people should be treated as private property.

 

Web Publishing

The LMSD website (www.lovingtonschools.net) is maintained by the District Webmaster. To maintain consistency of layout, only the Webmaster is authorized to implement the website.

Content Changes

  1. Employees and students may make changes to the content of a site established or maintained by the employee or student on the LMS network, with authority from LMS.
  2. Changes are submitted to the site’s administrator and/or Superintendent’s designee for approval.
  3. Approved changes are submitted to the Webmaster, who will change the website.

Layout Changes

  1. Site administrators may request layout changes for their websites.
  2. Approved reviews are submitted to the Superintendent's designee for approval.
  3. Approved changes are submitted to the Webmaster, who will change the website.

 

Warranty

LMSD makes no warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, for the service it is providing. LMS will not be responsible for any damages users suffer. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, misdirected deliveries, or service interruptions caused by its own negligence or user errors or omissions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at the user’s risk. LMS specifically denies any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through its service.

 

Social Networking and Electronic Communication

Social networking is defined as websites, weblogs (blogs), wikis, social networks, online forums, virtual worlds, and any other social media generally available to the public or consumers (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, Google+, Google Hangouts, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, blog sites, etc.).

Readers of social media networks may view the employee as a representative of the schools and the District.  The District requires employees to observe the following rules when referring to the District, its schools, students, programs, activities, employees, volunteers, and communities on any social media network:

  1. An employee’s use of any social media network and an employee’s postings, displays, or communications on any social media network must comply with all state and federal laws and any applicable District policies.
  2. Employees may not act as a spokesperson for the District or post comments as a representative of the District, except as authorized by the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee.
  3. Employees may not disclose information on any social media network that is confidential or proprietary to the District, its students, or employees or that is protected by data privacy laws.
  4. Employees may not post images on any social media network of co-workers without the co-workers’ consent.
  5. Employees may not post images of students on any social media network except for images of students taken in the public arena, such as at sporting events or fine arts public performances.
  6. The District recognizes that student groups or members of the public may create social media representing students or groups within the District. When employees, including coaches/advisors, choose to join or engage with these social networking groups, they do so as an employee of the District. Employees have the responsibility for maintaining appropriate employee-student relationships at all times and have responsibility for addressing inappropriate behavior or activity on these networks. This includes acting to protect the safety of minors online.
  7. District technologies are provided for educational use. Use of social media for personal use during District time or on District equipment is prohibited.

An employee who is responsible for a social media network posting that fails to comply with these rules and guidelines may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Employees will be held responsible for the disclosure, whether purposeful or inadvertent, of confidential or private information, information that violates the privacy rights or other rights of a third party, or the content of anything posted on any social media network.

Employee Sign-Out Form & User Agreement for LMS Technology Equipment

  • LMS staff members may be issued, assigned, and authorized to utilize LMS technology equipment for business, instructional, or school-related purposes ONLY, including laptops, tablet computers, scanners, cameras, Chromebooks, Smart-pens, and projectors.
  • At the time such equipment is issued and assigned to the staff members by LMS, the employee will be required to fill out and sign the “Employee Sign-out Form and User Agreement” for such technology equipment.
  • All equipment assigned to you will be on loan for a period specified on the form, but in no event later than the last day of your employment with LMS, or upon return of the equipment to the LMS IT Department in good and working condition.
  • You are bound to follow all LMS technology guidelines and Acceptable Use policies when using LMS electronic equipment.
  • All equipment issued to you by LMS must be returned in good working condition at the end of the assigned period or on or before your last day of employment with LMS, whichever is earlier, NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Upon return, equipment will be inspected by IT staff to ensure it is still in good and workable condition, as it was when assigned to you, given normal wear and tear.
  • Should the equipment be lost, damaged, or destroyed, or should you fail to return the equipment assigned to you, as well as its corresponding parts (i.e. charger, batteries, etc…), on or before the end of the assignment period or the last day of your employment with LMS, whichever is earlier, you will be responsible for paying or reimbursing LMS for the cost of repair or replacement of the equipment.
  • Payment for repair or replacement of equipment will be due no later than thirty days after the IT Department gives you notice of the repair or replacement cost, or on the last day of your employment with LMS, whichever is earlier.
  • Should you fail to pay for or reimburse LMS for the repair or replacement cost of the equipment, LMS is hereby authorized to deduct such costs from your payroll following reasonable notice to you.

District Authorized Communication Systems

Lovington Municipal School District employees are provided and authorized to use three systems to communicate with parents and students: Parent Square, their district e-mail account, and a district telephone.

If an employee uses third-party communication systems, software or applications, non-district email accounts, or personal telephone/cellular phones to communicate with parents/students, that employee is acting independently of the school district, which is not permitted and will therefore be personally responsible for responding to and complying with any related legal inquiries or issues that arise and could face disciplinary action depending on the situation.

Additionally, District employees are prohibited from engaging in social media or electronic communications as a representative or spokesperson of the District without express permission from the Superintendent – see Social Media and Electronic Communication.

 

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 8:  Responsibility for Students/Instruction

Staff members will maintain appropriate professional behavior while working with students and refrain from harassment, malicious or prejudicial treatment, and abridgment of student rights. Furthermore, staff members are required to report to their supervisor or to the appropriate person or agency any information they may have that relates to a student being harassed, bullied, discriminated against, threatened, or any other demeaning treatment by another person.

Accidents Involving Students

If an injury or accident occurs involving a student, employees must notify the building administrator or supervisor. Regardless of severity, the necessary accident forms must be completed. School employees will exercise caution in administering first aid to students. Normally, the expectation is that the school nurse will be available, or the student will be taken to a medical facility if warranted. If a student is injured or has a medical emergency, the staff member supervising the student should seek appropriate medical assistance as quickly as possible. The staff member should dial “911” and request an ambulance if he/she feels it may be in the student's best medical interest.  In the case of a serious injury and “911” is called, the Superintendent’s Office and Operations Department must be notified immediately.

Reporting Child Abuse, Child Neglect, and Drug Use by Students

All employees who know or have a reasonable suspicion that a child is abused or neglected shall report the matter immediately to:

  • The New Mexico Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-797-3260
  • The local law enforcement agency
  • Children Youth and Families Department of Lea County  

Drug use or suspected drug use by students should be reported to a local law enforcement agency and the principal or site administrator. An employee who fails to report abuse may be subject to legal sanctions.

Reporting Student Concerns, Complaints, and Grievances

All staff members must report observed incidents and reported incidents that involve demeaning behavior. When a staff member is aware of situations related to harassment, intimidation, bullying, or endangerment of students, he/she must report it to the proper authority and submit the required documentation. Reporting is a condition of employment.

Students may present a complaint or grievance regarding one (1) or more of the following (Board Policy J

3600):

  • Violation of the student's constitutional rights;
  • Denial of an equal opportunity to participate in a program or activity for which the student qualifies;
  • Discriminatory treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, genetic information, or disability;
  • Harassment, intimidation, bullying, or any other demeaning treatment of the student by another person, or
  • Concern for the student's safety.
  • Provided that:                   
  • The topic is not the subject of disciplinary or other proceedings under other policies and regulations of this District, and
  • The procedure shall not apply to any matter for which the method of review is prescribed by law, or the Board is without authority to act.

The guidelines to be followed are:

  • The accusation must be made within thirty (30) calendar days of the time the student knew or should have known that there were grounds for the complaint/grievance.
  • The complaint/grievance shall be made only by a school administrator or professional staff member.
  • The person receiving the complaint will gather information for the complaint form.
  • All allegations shall be reported on forms with the necessary particulars as determined by the Superintendent.  Forms are available in the school office.
  • The person receiving the complaint shall preserve the confidentiality of the subject, disclosing it only to the appropriate school administrator or next higher administrative supervisor or as otherwise required by law.   

The Superintendent shall determine whether the complaint/grievance falls within this policy.

Students should file complaints on their behalf. A parent or guardian may initiate the complaint process on behalf of an elementary school student.  A complaint/grievance may be withdrawn at any time. Once withdrawn, the process cannot be reopened if the resubmission is longer than thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the occurrence of the alleged incident. False or unproven complaint documentation shall not be maintained.

Retaliatory or intimidating acts against any student who has made a complaint under this policy and its corresponding regulations, or against a student who has testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation relating to a complaint or grievance, are specifically prohibited and constitute grounds for a separate complaint.

Knowingly submitting a false report under this policy shall subject the student to discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion. Where disciplinary action is necessary under any part of this policy, relevant District policies shall be followed.  [See LMS Board Policy J-3600]

Sexual Harassment of Students

No employee of the District may engage in conduct of a sexual nature with a student, regardless of the student’s age, ability to consent, or actual consent. An employee who is aware of another employee’s sexual harassment of a student is required to report it to the Superintendent’s Office immediately.

Teacher Lesson Plans

Each teacher should have lesson plans with adequate directions for the substitute to be able to continue ongoing programs and instruction in his/her absence. Lesson plans should address the individual educational needs of the students assigned to the teacher. Lesson plans should also contain the elements the site supervisor requires to deliver the approved curriculum. Supervisors may request teachers have these lesson plans available for review, as directed. Adequate lesson plans are a condition of employment for all classroom teachers.  [See LMS Regulation I-7961]

Report Card and Grading Guidelines

  • Report cards are issued at the end of each 9-week grading period as per the District instructional calendar.
  • Any grade below a ‘C’ on the report card must have been brought to the attention of the parent well in advance of the report cards being sent home.
  • The grading system should be consistent within the class for the entire year, and students should understand the system thoroughly.
  • Grades must not be affected by or upheld based on disciplinary problems, work habits, or conduct.  Grades will not be used as a disciplinary device.
  • Grades must be recorded in the Student Information System within five (5) days after the assignment is due.

 

Elementary Grading / Assessments Systems

A District-developed grading system will be utilized.

Teachers will keep a careful record of the grades assigned to students.

Written reports to the parents concerning student achievement will be made every nine (9) weeks by the teacher, and additional written reports will be made when necessary.

 

Teachers will confer with parents when necessary concerning academic progress and discipline of students.

Teachers will report to parents on students' conduct, scholarship, attendance, or excessive tardiness.

 

Special Education

Grades reporting achievement of special education students not taking regular education classes shall be given on a basis commensurate with the student's abilities and based on their progress rather than in competition with classmates. The permanent record cards for such students shall indicate enrollment in special education for those classes. Parents of special education students shall be counseled regarding the significance of the grading system to avoid misinterpretation of the achievement grade.

 

Subject Grade

The subject grade should be based on pupil mastery of the content of the course. The teacher will establish a

reasonable standard for average achievement in each of the subjects. If at any time the teacher is in doubt that this standard is either too high or too low, the teacher should discuss the matter with the principal.

 

The teacher will establish a uniform system of grading. This system is based upon the attainment of what the teacher requires. The content of the course shall be set up to be measured by numerical percentages which are then transferred to letter equivalents. The following scale will serve as a guide for the distribution of grades but reasonable alternative letter grades may be approved at the District level:

90% - 100% = A

80% - 89% = B

70% - 79% = C

60% - 69% = D

Below 60% = F

 

The following should be observed in implementing a grading system:

  • The grading system should be consistent within the class for the entire year.
  • The student should understand the system thoroughly, such as the content on which the grade for the course depends, the weight attached to various phases of the material, how the letter grade is devised, and the meaning of the final letter grade which is sent home as a report to the parent.
  • If a teacher from year to year consistently promotes classes with predominantly high or low scores for the majority of the pupils in each class, then such practice causes parental and pupil difficulties for the succeeding teacher. If a teacher consistently finds the grades high or low for a large percentage of the class, then the teacher should evaluate their established standards of average achievement on grading.
  • Work habits and conduct are two (2) areas that will be marked individually. Grades on basic subjects must not be awarded or upheld based on disciplinary problems, work habits, or conduct.

 

Report Cards and Records

At a minimum, an average of two (2) grades per week will be kept in the teacher's grade book for each subject (language arts, mathematics, science-health, social studies) in numerical values. The average for the nine (9) weeks will also be recorded in the grade book in numerical values.

 

Grade reports to the parents are made on a nine (9) week basis. Report cards include an explanation of the system of marks used. Before cards are sent out each nine (9) week period, the teacher should explain the marking system to the pupils.

 

Report Cards are sent home according to a schedule that is developed at the beginning of the school year.

 

Grades A, B, C, D, or F are given in the following subjects in grades three (3) through five (5)

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science-Health

Grades A, B, C, D, or F are given in the following subjects in grades one (1) and two (2)

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics

Kindergarten and First-Grade Reporting

Kindergarten (K) teachers will not use letter grades but will report progress through competency cards and Social and Work Behaviors Cards. The first (1st) grade will not use letter grades for the first nine-week term but will for the second, third, and fourth nine-week terms. Teachers may use additional reporting forms if they so choose, and conferences are encouraged.

Secondary Assessment and Grading Systems

Performance will be reported as:

                   A – 90-100

                   B – 80-89

                   C – 70-79

                   D – 60-69

                   F – Below 60

An average of at least two grades per week should be recorded in the grade book for each subject.

Teaching and Discussion of Controversial Issues

The teacher holds a position of authority and respect in the classroom and community, and that position has a great influence on the formation of the values of all students. It must be clear that personal views are not a part of the instructional program. Teachers should adhere to the approved curriculum and instructional materials that have been appropriately approved by the District.

Supervision of Students

When students are in school, engaging in school-sponsored activities, or traveling to and from school on school buses, they are responsible to the school and the school is responsible for them. Supervision shall include being within the physical presence and, whenever possible, within a line of vision of the students so school personnel will have a reasonable opportunity to control the behavior of and assist the students if necessary. Teachers shall supervise as appropriate from the commencement of the school day, before classes begin, during class sessions, between classes, and at other times when performing teaching or related duties on behalf of the school. If, in an emergency, a teacher must leave the physical presence of the students, the teacher shall make a reasonable effort to obtain a school employee to supervise the students during their absence. Under no circumstance shall the teacher leave students unsupervised if there is a reasonable possibility that harm to students or property will result.

Research/Publishing/Distribution Involving Student Information [see LMS Policy L-0500]

Any research or distribution of data that involves students must have the prior approval of the Superintendent or must be conducted within the guidelines established by the District. This includes research done by teachers as a part of college coursework or licensure advancement. This also includes outside agencies and institutions of higher education that are conducting educational research. Distribution of information related to students must be done in a way that complies with District policies and regulations, as well as state and federal laws and regulations. 

Student Attendance Records

Each time a class meets, the teacher shall check and formally record the attendance of all students assigned to the class.  The name of any absent students shall be entered in the Student Information System. All staff members will follow District and building procedures to notify the administration and/or parents of students who have poor attendance.

Disciplinary Action Towards Students

Classroom teachers will develop expectations for the behavior of the students whom they supervise. These expectations will be within the guidelines established by each site and the District. Teachers and other instructional staff will use appropriate instructional strategies and interventions to assist students in meeting these expectations. Students who do not meet these expectations should be subject to disciplinary actions and/or referrals that are developed at each site and meet District guidelines as well as state and federal laws and regulations. The use of corporal punishment in any form is prohibited. This includes prohibiting the direction or suggestion of physical mistreatment of a student by another student.

Corporal Punishment Defined

  • Spanking, paddling, striking, squeezing, or pinching any part of the body or forcefully grabbing the body or clothing of a student, or pushing a student;
  • Requiring a student to assume uncomfortable positions (e.g. hands overhead, holding books, etc.);
  • Restraining or restricting physical movement through binding or tying;
  • Enclosing a student in a confined space such as a closet, locker, or similar cubical; and
  • Using exercise as punishment (e.g. pushups, laps); exception for PE and Athletics where activity is appropriate to the physical and emotional condition of each student.

 

Corporal Punishment Exceptions

Reasonable restraint of a student whose conduct is violent or physically disruptive if the conduct is directed toward any person (employee, another student (s), third person) on school premises, or the student him/herself, or if the conduct is directed toward school property or the property of another on school premises.

Reasonable grasp upon, or restraint of the student to move or remove the student, or to prevent the student from entering the premises AFTER the student has REFUSED valid directives.

Corporal Punishment Penalty for Violations

Employees found in violation of the policy shall be subject to discipline, which may include suspension, termination, or discharge.  Instances of physical mistreatment will be referred to law enforcement or child protective agencies as required by law.

Tutoring

There will be no tutoring of students for pay during the school day or after school hours on school property without proper approval. Tutoring one’s students for pay will not occur at any time during the regular school year. Such tutoring will be considered as both a violation of Board Policy and professional ethics and may lead to termination of the contract, following a hearing as provided by law.

 

LMS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK SECTION 9: District Information

Board Policy/District Regulation Changes

Changes to Board Policies may be proposed through the Superintendent Advisory Council (SAC) and/or administration. Such proposed changes that relate to employment issues are generally presented to the SAC and/or administration, which may present the proposed changes to the Superintendent. The Superintendent, in turn, may submit all proposed changes to the Board of Education. The Board of Education may amend the proposals. 

Generally, policy changes approved by the Board, in whole or part, are reviewed for one month.  Policies are introduced at a regular board meeting; then the Board will take action the following month. at the meeting. The Board may approve policies in a shorter time frame. Only policy changes approved by the Board will become effective.

Regulations are developed and approved by the Superintendent or his/her designee. Generally, input and review by appropriate District staff are sought, and notification is generally made to the Board before the implementation of changes in regulations.  Staff will be notified by email regarding policy changes approved by the Board.                                                                           

Board of Education Meetings

Regular Board of Education meetings are generally held at 6:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Administration Building Board Room, 18 West Washington, Lovington, New Mexico. Specific meeting dates are published in a legal notice each year and are available on the District’s website.   

To obtain information on how to place an item on a Board agenda, contact the Superintendent’s Office. Staff members are invited to attend the meetings. The Board may allow comments by the public, including employees. This does not, however, preclude employees from following the proper chain of command when addressing work-related concerns.

School Calendar

The instructional calendar is available on the LMSD Website. 

AHERA Public Notice

The Lovington Municipal School District has completed an inspection of all buildings under the School District authority and prepared a Management Plan for all asbestos-containing materials, and suspected asbestos-containing materials identified during the inspection process. All records are available for public inspection. If you would like a copy of a public record, the fee for printed documents is one dollar ($1.00) per page.

Contact:         Lovington Municipal Schools

                        18 W. Washington Avenue

                        Lovington, NM 88260

                        575-739-2200 

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Applicants for admission and employment, students, parents, persons with disabilities, employees, and all unions or professional organization holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the Lovington Municipal Schools are hereby notified that the District does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The person listed below has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Individuals having inquiries concerning the District’s compliance with the regulations implementing Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or Section 504 are directed to contact the person listed below who has been designated to coordinate compliance with the regulations regarding nondiscrimination:

Contact:         Title IX: Kirk Murad

                        18 W. Washington Avenue

                        Lovington, NM 88260

                        575-739-2266 

ADA: Roger Hein (student) 

Dr. Kerry Parker (employee)

504, Title VI, & VII IDK     

                        18 W. Washington Avenue

                        Lovington, NM 88260

                        575-739-2200