A law that would allow school employees to continue to receive full pay while on extended sick leave was introduced earlier this month by Senator Connie M. Leyva.
“No public school employee on extended sick leave should ever lose the majority of their salary while they are in the fight of their life… School employees, including teachers, are the backbone of California’s education system and SB 796 will ensure that we have their back when they need that support the most”, says Senator Leyva.
David Young, a special education teacher at McClatchy high school was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the end of 2017. He was told that if he missed more than the 10 allotted days teachers receive at the beginning of every year, that he would pay $130 a day, out of pocket, for a substitute teacher. Because of this, he tried his hardest to not miss work- even while undergoing chemo.
Another case where a teacher had to pay for her substitute while on extended sick leave was a San Francisco elementary school teacher, Heather Burns, who was battling breast cancer in 2016. Her situation went viral when a GoFundMe account was created for her by a students parents.
Heather Burns was receiving less than half of what her normal paycheck was, without notice.
Californians are outraged by the old law that requires teachers in crisis’ to fork out money from their paychecks but others argue about where the funding for change will come from. The President of the California Teachers Association, Eric Heins, comments on how this unjust way of paying for substitutes is tricky to solve.
“It’s about money of course. When you’re in an underfunded system you’re still robbing Peter to pay Paul”, says Heins. According to Senator Leyva’s website, SB 796 will be further considered this spring.