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4.10         Educational Assistance Program (IBSSS and ISD)  

          A.    The educational assistance program is designed to accomplish the following objectives:  

        1.         To provide for institutional needs in relation to areas of staff development which will aid the schools in better accomplishing their objectives.  

        2.         To fulfill each school’s mission and accomplish goals and objectives to provide staff members who have knowledge and skill to fill needed critical positions for which there is a scarcity of qualified applicants.  

        3.         To stimulate interest in and provide incentive to staff members who have special abilities in critical areas to increase their knowledge and skill so they may have the opportunity to achieve their potential in their current positions.  

        4.         To provide added incentive to supervisory personnel to maximize their management potential.  For purposes of this program supervisory personnel are those positions excluded from bargaining units due to their supervisory or management responsibilities.  

          B.    Eligibility  

        1.         Any permanent employee of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and the Iowa School for the Deaf who has completed one year of service with the school is eligible for consideration for the benefits provided under this program.  

        2.         An employee receiving other financial assistance, such as scholarship aid, GI funds, etc., will be eligible to receive educational assistance to the extent that the sum total of all methods of reimbursement does not exceed 100 percent of tuition.  

          C.    Acceptable Courses of Study  

This program is exclusively designed for school-related courses of study.  Any course of study must be in an area which has a relationship to the tasks accomplished within the institution, the requirements of the position the individual currently holds and/or requirements for the learning of skills for which the institution has need.  

Each individual school shall work out a curriculum for basic courses and degrees needed by the agency in order to fulfill its missions.  

D.    A staff member may, under this program, attend any accredited institution of higher learning within the state.  Attendance at out-of-state institutions may be approved on a limited basis, provided there are geographical or educational considerations that make attendance at a state institution impractical. In this statement, “accreditation” refers to accreditation as an educational institution and a specific program of study that is approved or accredited by the profession as meeting the standards of the “state of arts”.  

E.    Tuition Reimbursements for Acceptable Courses of Study  

1.         Employees are required to first seek enrollment into evening and Saturday classes; tuition reimbursement may be granted for a maximum of six credit hours at one time.  

2.         If the necessary courses are not available during evenings and Saturdays, leave and tuition reimbursement may be granted for a maximum of six credit hours at any one time.  

3.         When leave is granted, the individual’s work schedule will be modified to the extent feasible to accommodate class hours.  However, as much as possible, the individual will be expected to make up the time.  

4.         An employee will be reimbursed for tuition and fees upon submission of an original paid receipt from the academic institution to the designated agency representative.  

5.         Prior to reimbursement, the employee must provide proof of successful completion of the course.  

a.      Successful completion of undergraduate course shall require attainment of at least a “C” grade.  

b.      Successful completion of a graduate course shall require attainment of at least a “B” grade.  

c.      Successful completion of a vocational or correspondence course shall be recorded by submittal of an official certificate or diploma.

F.    Educational Leave  

1.         Without Pay:  At the discretion of the superintendent and with the approval of the Board of Regents, a permanent employee may be granted educational leave without pay to attend an accredited institution for courses that are school related.  While all educational expenses are covered by the employee, the employee will have the right to return to the position at the same level with the same classification.  

2.         With Stipends:  The school may, subject to the availability of funds, grant a tuition reimbursement (full or partial) or a stipend for an individual who is on leave without pay to attend an accredited educational institution for school-related courses.  Stipend is defined as a specific sum of money sufficient to cover all or part of the cost of tuition, books, and other course-related materials.  

3.         With Pay:  The school may, at the discretion of the superintendent and with the approval of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approve applications for educational assistance programs with pay, as determined by the superintendent, for a limited number of employees based on institutional needs and the availability of funds.  

Full-time educational leave may be granted for a period of one academic year, but may be extended upon request of the applicant, subject to the discretion of the superintendent and the Board of Regents, and based upon institutional needs, availability of institutional funds, and academic performance.  Leave may be granted for one academic year at one-half pay, or the equivalent of one-half of an academic year at full pay.  

G.    Selection of Applicants  

While the selection of applicants is at the sole discretion of the superintendent, it is the express policy of the Board of Regents to offer all qualified applicants an equal opportunity to participate in the educational assistance program within the limitations imposed by the availability of funds and agency staffing requirements.  The schools will also encourage continued education by allowing employees flexible work schedules and unpaid leaves of absence whenever possible, consistent with the efficient administration of the institution.  

H.    Reporting of Educational Assistance Programs Participation  

Requests for educational leaves may be granted by the superintendent and reported in the Register of Personnel Changes, except that full-time educational assistance programs shall be submitted for approval to the Board by the superintendent.  Each request for a full-time educational assistance program shall contain information as to the length of service of the individual and an estimate of additional net budgetary support necessary to finance all leaves.  

Each institution shall submit a yearly evaluation and report or discussion and costs regarding educational assistance programs.  

I.           School Employment Requirements  

Any staff member who receives reimbursement for tuition shall agree to remain in the active employment of the school for a period of one month for every unit of credit earned or to repay to the State of Iowa such compensation as [the staff member] received.  Months shall be counted beginning with the first full month of active employment following the official semester closing date of the institution wherein the employee is enrolled.  

Any staff member granted participation in educational assistance programs shall agree either to return to the, institution granting such participation for a period of not less than two years or to repay the State of Iowa such compensation as [the staff member] received during such participation. (Iowa Code 262.9(13))