A teacher from San Francisco that is on medical leave because she is battling with breast cancer will now not only have to worry about her hospital bills, but paying the bill for the substitute teacher that will be taking over her class.
CNN reports that the teacher who works at Glen Park Elementary School in San Francisco can receive just 10 days of paid medical leave a year, and she can avail a further 100 sick days, but will have the cost for the substitute teacher hired in her place deducted from her own salary.
The rule comes in place because of an old California law dating from 1976 which states that the sum paid to a substitute teacher will be withdrawn from the absent teacher’s salary if the teacher has been absent for an additional period of five months.
Also, teachers in the state don’t pay into the disability program, so they can’t access its benefits either.
Laura Dudnick, a spokesperson for San Francisco United School District revealed that the average daily cost of a substitute teacher was $203.16, and the average teacher salary is $82,024 a year, of which more than $20,000 will be deducted over an absence of five months.
She noted, however, that this is not unique to San Francisco, and it’s not a district-only rule, but it reflects on California Education Code language in all other school districts in California.
Drastic cases such as this one, however, are avoided, because teachers who require additional medical leave can draw from a Sick Leave Bank for up to 85 days without seeing any deduction from their paychecks. Most teachers donate their unused sick leaves to this bank and help out their colleagues in need.
A mother whose child goes to the school and was taught by the teacher said that she’s an incredible teacher and this is not fair. Another parent shared that the teacher is wonderful, and it’s terrible what’s happening to her.
Eric Heins, the president of California Teachers Association, said that a change to the current system would be hard to come because of a lack of funds, no matter how much they would love it.