Teacher Substitute Days and Sick Leave
John Danahy raised the question of reduction of substitute
days in the Moscow School District as a way to increase
funding, and suggested that it would create enough
money to fund the Jr. Hi. team teaching. Assuming that
one believes that the sick leave policy is flawed and
overly generous, John's idea has merit. However, the law
hasn't changed since John was on the school board. The
district is required by state statute (I.C. 33-1216) to provide
teachers "sick leave with full pay of one (1) day for each
month of service, or major portion thereof...of the
employment year." That would be a minimum of 10 days
per year although it could be interpreted to mean 11 since
our employment year begins in August and ends in June.
Regardless of the precise interpretation, the district's
master contract, which the current board inherited from
the board when John was a member, provides for 11 sick
leave days per year. AND, also pursuant to state law, it is
allowed to accumulate. It would be possible to eliminate
the accumulation of sick leave days, but there is a
rationale for NOT doing so.
Teachers (and for that matter, others under the PERSI
retirement system) are allowed--at the time of retirement-
- to convert each unused sick leave day into the value of
one-half a day's pay, such value to be used to pay for
health insurance premiums. (the provision is found at
I. C. 33-1228) Many who are part of the system seldom
use a sick leave day and accumulate them for retirement.
IF the district put a cap on the number of sick leave days
that employees would accumulate, what would be the
most reasonable thing for them to do? Use up all the sick
leave above the cap. Yes, the district could require a note
from a doctor, but how many days during the year do
most of us have some ailment that COULD keep us home
The state does cap (at 90) the number of sick leave days
that an employee can transfer from one district in Idaho
to another for purposes of computing the 33-1228 benefits.
That provision actually inhibits some long-time teachers
and administrators from moving from one district to
another. If s/he has accumulated 250 sick leave days and
is nearing retirement age, losing 160 of those days means
that the new job will have to pay substantially better for
the person to break even.
Not all sick leave days are substitute days. The number
John used for substitute days appears to be last year's sick
leave day number. That would include administrators
and others who do not teach in the classroom and
therefore did not require a substitute.
Total sick and personal leave days last year were 2022
with an additional 161 for whom the substitute was paid
by another source (Federal money, etc.).
Professional leave accounted for 838 additional sub days
paid from district funds with another 86 paid by other
sources. Five teachers took maternity leave last year and
there were some long term illnesses. Total sub days for
those categories was 420, another 21 paid from non-
district sources. The district paid for 14 sub days for MEA
(union) business, again pursuant to the benefits provided
in the master contract that was negotiated long before at
least four of the current board members were sitting.
Total sub days was 3294 paid from district funds; 268 paid
from other sources. Additionally, admininstrators and
others who do not need substitutes took 694 leave days.
While the district pays their salaries on those days, no
additional funds were used for subs.
On 16 Apr 02, at 15:43, Frederick R. Cunningham wrote:
Date forwarded: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 15:43:38 -0700 (PDT)
Date sent: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 15:43:16 -0700
From: "Frederick R. Cunningham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Bruce and Jean Livingston <email@example.com>,
Subject: Re: School Levy
Forwarded by: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm replying without any precise facts, as I am not
by the district, but my Mother has been for 25 years or so,
so I have an idea about how sub days work in general. An
important point to make is that these are not "sick days" in
general, although a few days may be lost for that reason.
Speaking from what I've seen my Mom do with her time
seems that most days a sub is in the classroom are when a
teacher is participating in a required workshop, class, or
training day. Again, I can't give you numbers, but teachers
are required to complete an immense amount of ongoing
education to comply with government standards. And
agree it would be nice if someone in the district could give
a better picture of teacher benefits. It's certainly
something to consider, even though I feel the teachers in
our districts deserve every advantage they can get out of
their hard-won contracts. Thanks, Fred
Bruce and Jean Livingston wrote:
> I have been inclined to support the school levy and
> probably still am, despite this distubing note from John
> The district currently pays for 4000 sub days. That
> is the equivalent
> of more than 4 weeks per full time certified position. Or
> 11% of the time your child spends in class is with a sub.
> Cutting the sub days by 50% would provide enough funds to
> pay for the Junior High Teams with funds left over for the
> reserves. Yet, we are not being asked to support 4000 sub
> days, we are being threatened with the loss of the Junior
> High Teams. Why?
> Can someone enlighten us on this? I find it impossible to
> believe that this information is correct and that every
> full-time teacher is taking time off in this order of
> magnitude. Could it be that sub days are authorized in
> this obscene amount but not used? Certainly, most
> employers give their employees something on the order of a
> week or two of sick days per year. Four weeks of sick days
> in a nine month year seems grossly high and a likely
> target for concessions in a labor contract.
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