§ 8901D Established.
There is hereby established a series of Educational Support Professional of the Year Awards the purpose of which is to reward outstanding educational support professionals throughout the State.
§ 8902D Definitions.
Educational support professional (ESP). — A school employee whose position is instructional in nature or who provides other direct or indirect services to students and/or their parents such as: paraprofessionals; instructional aides; custodial staff; secretaries; nutritional staff and school bus drivers.
§ 8903D Procedure.
Each year every school district throughout this State shall conduct a study within each school building to determine those educational support professionals who are deserving of the title "Educational Support Professional of the Year" from that building. One Educational Support Professional of the Year may be selected to represent all of the charter schools in the State. The selection process will follow the guidelines developed by the Department of Education which include input from educational support professionals, administrators and Department of Education staff. After the buildings make their individual selections, the district-wide Educational Support Professional of the Year shall be selected from each district, following the current guidelines. The final step will be the selection of the state "Educational Support Professional of the Year."
§ 8904D Range of awards.
(a) Those individuals who are chosen Educational Support Professional of the Year in their respective school buildings shall be nominated for the district Educational Support Professional of the Year Award.
(b) Those individuals who are chosen Educational Support Professional of the Year for their respective school districts will be awarded $1,000.
(c) The individual who is chosen state Educational Support Professional of the Year shall be awarded $1,500 in addition to the district level award.
§ 8905D Fund established.
(a) A special fund of $2,500 shall be set aside within the budget of the Department of Education, which fund shall be known and referred to as the "Educational Support Professional of the Year Award Fund."
(b) Each annual recipient of the Educational Support Professional of the year award pursuant to this chapter shall have set aside from the Educational Support Professional of the Year Award Fund, for that recipient's exclusive assignment and disbursement, an amount equal to $2,500. The award recipient shall not directly receive the funds so set aside, but may make such withdrawals as are necessary for that recipient's educational purposes and objectives as herein authorized.
(c) The Fund established by this section shall be distinct from, and in addition to, the money directly given to the individual educational support professionals as specified in § 8904D of this title.
§ 8906D Use of funds.
(a) The Department of Education shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations concerning the use to which Educational Support Professional of the Year Award funds may be assigned by the designated recipient.
(b) The amount set aside for designation by an award recipient shall be expended solely to accomplish educational purposes or objectives for pupils. No amount or portion of such award shall be used for the personal benefit of the award recipient; provided, however, that in the use of such funds for educational purposes the recipient may be an indirect or incidental beneficiary as educational support professional of the benefited pupils. In the event that all funds set aside for an award recipient have not been completely expended by that recipient at the time when a subsequent award is granted, the remainder of the former recipient's award shall not revert, but shall remain set aside in the name of such former recipient until such time as it is totally expended or the recipient dies or leaves the State.
(c) The recipient shall present to the superintendent of the school district in which that recipient is employed a plan for utilization of the award. Such submission shall not waive the right of the recipient to judge and choose but shall be in order to avoid wasteful duplication of materials or violation of school district policy regarding students, materials or activities. The principal criteria for use of the Fund shall be that of benefit to pupils. The Fund may be designated for, but not limited to, such items as:
(1) Purchase of nonconsumable materials and supplies; e.g., library books, audio visual equipment, crossing signs, computer equipment and programs, musical instruments, specialized furniture.
(2) Purchase of otherwise consumable materials that are by students; e.g., paper, notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, paints, instruments, wood and metal.
(3) Employment of performers and consultants; e.g., touring companies of a dramatic or musical group, visiting artist, poet, author, and other subject matter experts.
(4) Student-centered professional development for building level educational support professionals.
(5) Reimbursements to the recipient, not to exceed $500, for personal expenses.
(d) Where the recipient has purchased materials, equipment or any other durable item with award funds, such item shall be the property of the Delaware school district in which the recipient is employed at the time of the expenditure. Each invoice, purchase order and personal reimbursement form related to withdrawals from Educational Support Professional of the Year Award funds shall be retained by the school district, and shall be available for inspection as public records and subject to regular audit by the State Auditor of Accounts.
§ 8907D Pension modifications.
Each Educational Support Professional of the Year, on every level, shall have added to that educational support professional's final year of salary the dollar amount of that educational support professional's Educational Support Professional of the Year Award or Awards as enumerated in § 8904D of this title solely for computing the final average compensation for pension purposes.