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Franklin-McKinley ESD  |  AR  3513.1  Business and Noninstructional Operations

Cellular Phone Stipend   

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The district recognizes that the performance of certain job responsibilities may be enhanced by or may require the use of a cellular (cell) phone or a smartphone. This administrative regulation will establish guidelines for the provision of a wireless communications stipend to employees who have a documented business need for a communications device and continue to meet this need under the Eligibility section of this regulation.


This regulation applies to all employees who will be receiving a stipend for the use of their personal cell phone.

Regulation Details

Employees who hold positions that include the need for a cell phone (see Eligibility criteria below) may receive a cell phone stipend to compensate for business-related costs incurred when using their privately owned cell phones. The District will not own cell phones for the use of individual employees except in limited situations (e.g. public safety, physical plant, on-call employees, or select supervision, etc.).


Employees whose job duties include the frequent need for a cell phone may receive a monthly cell phone stipend, to cover business-related costs. An employee is eligible for a personal phone stipend if at least one of the following criteria is met:

1. The job responsibilities of the employee requires considerable time outside of his/her assigned office or work area and it is important to the District that she/he is accessible during those times;

2. The job function of the employee requires him/her to be accessible outside of scheduled or normal working hours where time sensitive decisions/notifications are required;

3. The job function of the employee requires him/her to have wireless data and internet access; and/or

4. The employee is designated as a "first responder" to emergencies.

Stipend Overview

If an employee meets the eligibility requirements for a cell phone, as outlined above, a stipend may be requested using the Cell Phone Stipend Agreement form. The stipend will be paid monthly. Annual Cell Phone Stipend Agreement forms are required. An employee will only receive a stipend for the months she/he is employed with the District.

Once approved, the stipend amount will be paid through payroll monthly and will be subject to taxation.

The stipend will be paid as a flat rate per month.  The District will pay only the agreed upon amount.

The stipend allowance is neither permanent nor guaranteed. The District reserves the right to remove a participant from this plan and/or cancel the stipend for business reasons.

Annual verification of corresponding cell plan is required to be submitted by August 31 of each year.

Stipend is intended to reimburse employee for the business use of Voice, Text, & Data on personal cell phone. The stipend amount is set and reassessed annually.

Equipment Purchase

The District will not pay for the purchase of personal cell phones, plan costs, activation fees or insurance.  These expenses will be the sole responsibility of the employee.

Oversight, Approval and Funding

District administration is responsible for identifying employees who hold positions that include the need for a cell phone. Each administrator is strongly encouraged to review whether a cellular device is necessary, and to select alternative means of communication (e.g., land-lines) when such alternatives would provide adequate and less costly service to the District. Once identified and approved by the district administrator, the administrator shall submit a list of the approved employees and the eligible requirements met (see Eligibility above) to the Superintendent for final approval.

Administrators are responsible for overseeing employee cell phone needs and assessing each employee's continued need of a cell phone for business purposes. The need for a cell phone stipend should be reviewed annually, to determine if existing cell phone stipends should be continued as-is, changed, or discontinued. Administrators must ensure monthly that the approved employees maintain cell phone plans.

The Superintendent will have the final approval authority. Administrators will approve employees in their departments.

Stipends are funded by the department submitting the request.

Employees Rights & Responsibilities

The employee is responsible for purchasing a cell phone and establishing a service contract with the cell phone service provider of his/her choice. The cell phone contract is in the name of the employee, who is solely responsible for all payments to the service provider.

The employee may, at his or her own expense, add extra services or equipment features, as desired. If there are problems with service, the employee is expected to work directly with the carrier for resolution.

Support from the District Information Technology (I.T.) Department is limited to assisting the employee in connecting a personally owned cell phone or Smartphone to district provided services, including wi-fi, email, calendar, and contacts if deemed necessary and approved.

An employee receiving a cell phone stipend must submit to their supervisor a copy of the most current access plan charges confirming they have a contract for the cell phone.  If deemed necessary, the District may request a detailed monthly statement to verify business use.

The District does not accept any liability for claims, charges or disputes between the service provider and the employee. Use of the phone in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the stipend.

Any cell phone that has data capabilities must be secured based on current security standards including password protection and encryption. If a cell phone with data capabilities is stolen or missing, it must be reported to the employee's supervisor, the wireless device service provider, and to I.T. as soon as possible.  Employee will provide replacement phone information to district immediately in order to continue receiving stipend.

Employees are expected to delete all district data from the cell phone when their employment with the District is severed, except when required to maintain that data in compliance with litigation hold notice.

If an employee uses a personally owned device to access district technology or conduct district business, he/she shall abide by all applicable Board policies, administrative regulations, and this Acceptable Use Agreement. Any such use of a personally owned device may subject the contents of the device and any communications sent or received on the device to disclosure pursuant to a lawful subpoena or public records request.


Any stipend agreement will be immediately cancelled if:

1. Employment is terminated with the District;

2. The employee changes position within the District, which no longer requires the use of a cell phone for business reasons;

3. There is misuse/misconduct with the phone;

4. A decision by management (unrelated to employee misconduct) results in the need to end the program or there is a change in the employee's duties;

5. The employee does not want to retain the current cell phone contract for personal purposes.

Refer to Board Policy 4040

Legal Reference:


35213 Reimbursement for loss or damage of personal property

44032 Travel expense payment

48901.5 Electronic signaling devices


23123 Wireless telephones in vehicles

23125 Wireless telephones in school buses


280F Limitation on depreciation for luxury automobiles, etc.


1.132-5 Working conditions fringe benefit

Management Resources:


Internal Revenue Service:


approved: February 13, 2018 San Jose, California