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Wayland teachers ask for expansion of ‘sick days bank’

A Wayland teacher and former colleague told Board of Education members they’d like to see the “sick day bank” program simplified and expanded.

Teachers now are permitted to donate unused sick days to fellow employees who might need them in extenuated circumstances, but current rules only allow the teachers to benefit if they themselves are ill.

There is a proposal now to enable teachers’ immediate family members to be beneficiaries. For example, middle school math teacher Alison Babiak is taking a lot of time off because her son is battling leukemia.

Lynn Donaldson, a teacher at Baker Elementary, told the board, “I’ve been witness to lots of acts of compassion by our staff… I know money is tight.”

However, she insisted that teachers who have a seriously sick child or spouse really need the support of their colleagues in order to give primary care without having their pay being docked.

“We need to address this need,” she said.

Former board member Shelly Salisbury Whitley said, “We’re making it (the policy) too hard. We should do what’s right for our employees.”

Superintendent Norm Taylor said there have been talks on revising the language on sick bank rules, but the number of sick bank days allowed are budgeted. He suggested that teachers at the beginning of the academic year could anonymously donate.

The current rules allow teachers to donate only one day per year, but if all 160 donate, then 160 days will be available in the bank.

Taylor said a total of 128.5 sick days have been donated over the past four years, last from two to 20 days for affected personnel.

 

PHOTO: The board meeting Monday night was the first for new members (from left) Pete Zondervan, Toni Ordway and Janel Hott.New sch bd swear

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