A San Francisco teacher who is on medical leave, not only has to worry about battling breast cancer but also has to worry about paying for her own substitute teacher. On top of heavy medical bills, the teacher has to pay for her sub replacing her at Glen Park Elementary School. All teachers receive 10 paid days of medical leave a year in the San Francisco Unified School District, but if teachers need to be out more days, they can get another 100 sick days, but at a price.
Under a 1976 California law, the cost of a substitute teacher in San Francisco is $203.16. In 2019, the average teacher’s salary in the school district, excluding any benefits, was $82,024.37. Teachers who require additional medical leave are allowed to draw from a “Sick Leave Bank” for up to 85 days without any deduction from their paycheck. Teachers usually donate unused sick days to the bank to help out their colleagues. Teachers in California do not benefit from the state’s disability insurance program because they don’t’ pay into it.
Parents in the district are speaking out on the policy, saying it is unfair for The Glen Park school teacher, who prefers to remain anonymous. Susan Solomon, president of United Educators of San Francisco said her teacher union is hoping to negotiate better sick leave policies for the future. Through a statement, Solomon noted, “The issues involving teachers’ use of extended sick leave and the catastrophic sick leave bank, as well as the school district’s use of a daily substitute dock rate, are governed by law and the collective bargaining agreement.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for teachers, and have now received over $13,000. The campaign organized described the second-grade teacher at an impeccable woman who has taught at the school for 17 years. Days after surgery, the teacher wrote out 22 completely personalized notes to the students thanking them all for their support, saying he missed them and encouraged them to continue to work hard.
Honestly, this just seems so ridiculous and makes my blood boil. This teacher not only battling one of the toughest challenges in life, but she has to add one more stress to her daily routine and pay for someone to take over her classes. For something that she has no control over. What kind of school district allows this? Why is this even a law?