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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 
but doesn't?  
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.

Mike Curley

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" <>
To:             	Bruce and Jean Livingston <>,
Subject:        	Re: School Levy
Forwarded by:

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 
off, it
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 
yes, I
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
> Danahy:
>     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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