Some employees of the Leavenworth school district will be receiving a temporary pay increase for performing what are considered essential functions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some employees of the Leavenworth school district will be receiving a temporary pay increase for performing what are considered essential functions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Leavenworth Board of Education members voted Monday to authorize Superintendent Mike Roth to give employees up to an additional $3 per hour for “pandemic pay.”

“It’s not what we owe them, but that is what is fiscally possible right now,” said Doug Darling, president of the Leavenworth Board of Education.

Also Monday, Roth told board members that students still could face penalties for truancy if they fail to respond to school officials during the current period of remote learning.

As part of a motion Monday, Roth was asked to identify groups of employees who are eligible for the temporary pay increase as well as the level of pay increases for these groups.

Board member Dannielle Wells abstained from voting for the motion because of a potential conflict of interest. Her son works for the school district. The other six board members voted for the motion.

Because of concerns about spreading the coronavirus, board members conducted the meeting using an online videoconferencing service.

Roth said Tuesday morning that he has determined food service employees will be paid an additional $3 per hour.

Even though school buildings are closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, the district is offering a pickup service for free meals for children at several sites in the city.

Roth said building custodians and technology department staff members will be paid an additional $1.50 per hour. There are other groups of employees who will be paid an additional $1 per hour.

With school buildings closed, teachers are providing remote instruction to their students for the remainder of the school year.

During a report to the school board Monday, Roth said school officials have been able to make contact with most of the students in the district since the school buildings have closed but not all of them. He said some principals may attempt to knock on the doors of families who have not responded to attempts to contact them.

Roth said a compulsory attendance law still applies even though the school buildings are closed.

He said letters eventually will be sent to parents who do not respond. And some cases could end up being referred to the County Attorney’s Office for possible truancy violations.

“Now what they do with it is totally up to them,” Roth said.

Roth also asked board members if they wanted to move forward with plans for a special meeting on April 20.

He said the meeting was planned to provide a presentation about a school mental health program. The meeting had been planned before restrictions related to the coronavirus were put in place.

“We can still do it if that’s the direction the board would like to go” Roth said.

He said the special meeting can be conducted using an online videoconferencing service, or the meeting could be postponed until restrictions regarding large gatherings have been lifted.

Board member Mike Carney said he preferred to postpone the special meeting. But other board members indicated they were in favor of moving forward with having the meeting next week.

Roth said district officials will continue with plans to have the meeting next week.

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