News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Labor Dept. Issues Final Overtime Rules
The Department of Labor issued revised, final regulations last week on overtime pay that are likely to affect the rights of some nonacademic school district supervisors to receive the extra pay, according to lawyers who represent school districts.
Some members of Congress, however, are vowing to fight the regulations, released April 20, as they did with a draft version issued last year. ("Overtime Debate Puts Old Problem Back in Spotlight," Sept. 17, 2003.)
The final regulations guarantee that salaried white-collar employees earning less than $23,660 annually would be eligible for overtime, an increase from the current ceiling of $8,060, and up from the $22,000 threshold proposed by the Labor Department in March 2003. The regulations also specify that white- collar workers would be overtime-eligible if their salaries did not top $100,000 a year, up from $65,000 a year in the draft rules.
James C. Hanks, a Des Moines, Iowa, lawyer who frequently works with school districts, said some district supervisory personnel with salaries under $23,660 might become eligible for overtime as a result of the changes.
The regulations do not change the status of teachers and academic administrators, such as principals, who are categorically exempt from overtime eligibility.
Federal Panel Advocates Ocean Awareness in K-12
The federal government should form a national ocean education office to strengthen citizens’ grasp of the importance of the oceans and the nation’s coasts, including educational efforts in schools, a federal commission recommended last week.
The report of the 16-member U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, created under the Oceans Act of 2000, says the proposed office should develop a national vision and strategy for boosting educational achievement in natural and social sciences and increasing ocean awareness.
The report also calls for the proposed office to work with school districts and researchers to develop ocean-related curricular materials that would fit into existing education standards. It also calls for more professional-development opportunities on oceans for teachers and teacher-educators.
The commission’s preliminary report is available online at www.oceancommission.gov. The panel will accept written comments on its recommendations through May 21.
Vol. 23, Issue 33, Page 29