A teacher at Glen Park Elementary in San Francisco is paying for her own substitute out of her paycheck as she goes through cancer treatment and is unable to work. Friends say the whole ordeal has put extra stress on her during an already difficult time.
The unidentified teacher and many others like her have 10 sick days available to them per year. When those are gone, they can take up to 100 days of medical leave, but there’s a catch. For each day of medical leave, they must pay for a substitute teacher for their classes. After the 100 days are up, teachers who still need more time may take up to 85 days out of a pool of days donated by other teachers, which is known as the Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank.
It’s fantastic that generous teachers are helping each other out with a sick leave bank, but there’s a long 100 days of docked pay between teachers in need and that helpful Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank.
“We’d love to change it but we’re working under a public school system that’s been financially on starvation,” says Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association.
Until the rule is changed, however, teachers like the woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer at Glen Park Elementary are suffering from a lack of cash flow just as their medical bills are beginning to pile up.
“She’s an incredible teacher, and that’s not fair. That’s crazy!” says Elia Hernandez, a parent of one of the teacher’s students.
We hope this woman and other teachers like her can prompt a change to the system so that they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to handle potential future medical expenses while they’re not working. Our teachers deserve so much better than this!
Check out the video below to learn more.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?