HCS Unencumbered Time Policy
Effective July 1, 2023
Primary and elementary school (to include St. James Intermediate School) principals will develop and implement plans at their respective schools to provide at least thirty minutes of unencumbered time on each regular school day to all full-time teachers teaching in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, as required by Section 59-5-63, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976.
Implementation of Unencumbered Time
Unencumbered time, as defined by Section 59-5-63, is time that is self-directed without assigned duties or responsibilities, including direct instruction or supervision of students.
The placement of unencumbered time within the workday will be flexible based on the staffing and scheduling needs of each school.
The unencumbered thirty minutes will not include parent/teacher conferences, bus duty, IEP and/or 504 meetings, team meetings, or professional development activities that are not self-directed. Also, the unencumbered time will not include managing or supervising the transition of students to and from activities, classes, lunch, recess, or any other activities.
The provision of thirty minutes of unencumbered time will not be achieved by expanding the expected work hours for teachers before or after the school day.
As provided by Section 59-5-63, leadership will only withhold or reduce a teacher’s unencumbered time in a given school day as a result of extreme or unavoidable circumstances. Such circumstances could include, but are not limited to, an emergency drill or an insufficient number of staff and substitute teachers to maintain instruction in the school.
The intentional failure of the school’s principal to provide eligible teachers with thirty minutes of unencumbered time may result in appropriate action under the district’s disciplinary policy and may be sufficient cause for the suspension or revocation of such person’s educator certificate pursuant to Section 59-25-160, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976.
The intentional failure of the local school board to provide eligible teachers with the required thirty minutes of unencumbered time may subject the board to any penalties prescribed by law.