Policy Details Page
The District’s officers and employees will demonstrate the values of integrity in the performance of the District’s business; accountability to the law and to the people we serve; stewardship of the District’s resources; and independence in the performance of our jobs.
District officers and employees have been entrusted with a noble and important task, educating our community’s children, and should strive to live up to the highest ethical standards.
This Policy, along with Policy 1610, Conflicts of Interest; Regulation 1610R, Conflicts of Interest; and Policy 5010, Employee Conduct Rules; collectively reflect ethical standards of conduct for all District officers and employees, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid; and sets forth conduct that is incompatible with such standards. Violations of this policy or Policy 1610, Conflicts of Interest; Regulation 1610R, Conflicts of Interest; and Policy 5010, Employee Conduct Rule subject may subject employees to discipline and officers to censure by the Board.
Confidential Information - (i) specific information, rather than generalized knowledge, that is not available to a person who files a public records request, or (ii) information made confidential by law.
District action - (i) a decision, determination, finding, ruling, order, grant, payment, award, license, contract, transaction, sanction, approval or denial, or other similar action, or (ii) any proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, case, or other such matter that the District employee believes, or has reason to believe, is or will be the subject of District action; or is one to which the District is, or will be a party; or is one in which the District has a direct and substantial interest
District employee - the Superintendent or any individual appointed by the Superintendent or his or her designee, who serves under the supervision and authority of the District and the Internal Auditor and staff.
District officer - every School Board member.
Family member - spouse or domestic partner (as defined by Washington law), child, step-child, parent, step-parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, son- or daughter-in law, brother- or sister-in law or first cousin.
Gift or gratuity - anything of value, but does not include the following items:
a. Anything of value that is received as District property and used for District purposes (such as textbooks and classroom supplies);
b. Payment of enrollment and course fees and reasonable travel expenses related to seminars and educational programs sponsored by a bona fide nonprofit professional, educational, trade association, or charitable institution;
c. Discounts available to an individual as a member of an employee group, occupation or similar broad-based group;
d. A plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item given in recognition of performance, merit, or accomplishment;
e. Awards, prizes, scholarships, or other items provided in recognition of academic or scientific achievement; or
f. Reimbursement to the District for enrollment and course fees and reasonable travel expenses incurred by the District in connection with an employee or officer’s speech, presentation, or appearance made in an official capacity; provided that the reimbursement is memorialized in a public record.
Participate - to personally and substantially consider, investigate, advise, recommend, approve, disapprove, decide, or take other similar action.
Person -any individual, partnership, corporation, association, firm, institution, or other entity, whether or not operated for profit.
Reasonable travel expenses - are those expenses that either (i) do not exceed the District-established per diem for travel, or (ii) could be paid for with public funds.
Confidential Information. District officers and employees may not use confidential information for private gain.
Conflicts of Interest. All District officers and employees must disqualify themselves from participating in District actions in which they have a conflict of interest, and disclose when it could appear that they have a conflict of interest.
Gifts and Gratuities. District employees and officers generally must not accept gifts or gratuities from people who may have an interest in District actions.
Interest in Contracts. District officers and employees may not have a financial interest in contracts made by those in their chain of command, and must disclose a financial interest in any District contracts.
Misuse of Position. District employees and officers may not misuse their positions or District property for private gain.
Special Obligations. Staff working with students have special obligations to avoid ethical conflicts.
DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
District officers and employees may not use confidential information for private gain. A District officer or employee may not disclose or use any confidential information gained by reason of his or her official position, including but not limited to student records, personal employee information, property appraisals, and business information the disclosure of which would put the District at a competitive disadvantage, for other than a District purpose.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
All District officers and employees must disqualify themselves from participating in District actions in which they have a conflict of interest, and disclose their actions, relationships, or interests when it could appear that they have a conflict of interest. Conflicts of Interest and the District’s prohibitions related to the same are set forth in Policy 1610 and Regulation 1610R.
GIFTS AND GRATUITIES
To promote public confidence, District employees and officers generally must not accept gifts or gratuities from people who may have an interest in District actions. A District employee or officer may not solicit or receive any gift or gratuity from any person if the intent is, or would to a reasonable person appear to be, to seek or obtain special consideration or influence in any District action in which the employee or officer participates. The following are examples of situations in which a reasonable person would not normally conclude a gift was given or received with the intent to influence an employee's or officer's actions:
(1) a gift from a member of an employee’s school community or an individual coworker valued at no more than fifty dollars ($50.00), or no more than one hundred ($100.00) in aggregate in gifts from any one person in any one school year;
(2) a collective gift from an employee’s school community or coworkers given in recognition of infrequently occurring occasions of personal significance such as marriage, illness, the birth or adoption of a child, retirement or transfer away from a school, or the end of the school year, provided that no individual employee, or student, or his or her family may contribute more than fifty dollars ($50.00) to any individual gift; or
(3) an item received pursuant to Policy 6214, Employee Recognition and Regulation 6214R.
It shall not be a violation of this section for a District employee who participates in the District’s acquisition of goods or services to accept from a person or firm seeking to or providing such goods or services the following:
(1) Advertising or promotional items of nominal (very small) monetary value, not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00); or
(2) Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient’s performance of official duties.
INTEREST IN CONTRACTS
District officers and employees may not have a financial interest in contracts made by those in their chain of command and must disclose a financial interest in any District contracts.
A District officer or employee shall disclose any financial interest, direct or indirect, held personally or through a family member, in any contract to which the District may be a party, to the Superintendent or his or her designee prior to the formation of the contract; provided, that this paragraph shall not apply to any contract awarded through the public bid process in accordance with applicable law.
In addition to the requirements of the foregoing paragraph, a District officer or employee may not hold or acquire a financial or beneficial interest, direct or indirect, personally or through a family member, in any contract which, in whole or in part, is made by, through, or under the supervision of the District officer or employee, or which is made by or through a person supervised, directly or indirectly, by the District officer or employee; or accept, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity, or reward in connection with such contract from any other person or entity beneficially interested in the contract.
MISUSE OF POSITION
Directors, the Superintendent, and District employees may not use or attempt to use or influence his or her official position with Tacoma Public Schools for a purpose that is, or would appear to a reasonable person to be, primarily for the private benefit of that person, rather than primarily for the benefit of the District. The District’s prohibitions related to misuse of position is set forth in Policy 1610 and Regulation 1610R
SPECIAL OBLIGATIONS FOR STAFF WORKING DIRECTLY WITH STUDENTS
Advanced written permission from the Superintendent or designee is necessary when:
A. A certificated staff member wishes to tutor, provide private lessons, provide child care, or provide respite care to any current student of the District;
B. An Educational Staff Associate or an assistant to an Educational Staff Associate (guidance counselors, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists along with assistants or interns to the same) wishes to give private instruction, therapy, or assessment services to any current student of the District; or
C. A Paraeducator wishes to tutor, give private lessons to, provide child care, or provide respite care to any current student of the District.
Legal References: WAC 180-87-090 Improper remunerative conduct
Cross References: Board Policy 1610 Conflicts of Interest
6214 Employee Recognition
Adoption Date: 12/9/99