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San Francisco Teacher on Medical Leave with Breast Cancer Must Pay for Substitute

Rebekah Sager
May 09, 2019 - 11:43 am

(KNX 1070) -- A San Francisco teacher with breast cancer is at the center of a debate after parents learned she has to pay for her own substitute while on medical leave. 

The woman teaches at Glen Park Elementary. Friends of the teacher initially set up a GoFundMe page to help her underwrite the money taken out of her paycheck to pay the sub, but the page recently stopped accepting donations. 

What this teacher and others face is not uncommon. California teachers get 10 sick days per year and can take up to 100 days for medical leave, but during that entire time, the cost of a sub is deducted from their pay. If more time is needed, they can take an additional 85 days from a "catastrophic sick leave bank," which is paid for by other teachers. 

This law has been on the California books since 1976.  

"We'd love to change it, but we're working in a public school system that's been financially on starvation," said Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.  

In a statement sent to Buzz Feed News, a spokesperson for the school district makes the point that this is a statewide issue. "This is not unique to San Francisco," spokesperson Laura Dudnick said. "It is in the [Education] Code. This is not a district-only rule."