Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Board to disolve ‘sick leave bank’ program

J-E Editor
Webster County teachers may soon be losing out on one of their biggest benefits, the Sick Leave Bank. 
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 161.155, school districts are required to provide all teachers and full time staff with at least 10 sick days during the school year. Those days are required to be allowed to accumulate, without limitation, and be credited to that employee. Schools are also required to establish a sick leave donation program, permitting teachers or employees to voluntarily contribute sick leave to other employees.

KRS 161.155 (7) allows for the creation of a sick leave bank, an option that the board adopted years ago. That process allows teachers to donate their unused sick days to the bank. Those days, in turn, can be dealt out to any teacher who has paid into the system.
“If you exhaust all of your six days and personal days, you can go to the bank, present a doctor’s statement and they could grant you 15 additional days,” said Superintendant Dr. Rachel Yarbrough. The bank can grant up to 60 sick days from the existing pool.
These days run concurrently with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) days, allowing employees to be paid while they are on leave.
“Theoretically you don’t have to go any days without pay,” said Yarbrough.
At the urging of the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA), Yarbrough breached the topic of either dissolving that sick leave bank, or putting a lower cap on the number of days that an employee can take from the bank. Not only does Webster County’s program go far beyond what is required by the law, it is a much larger program than what is offered by any school in the surrounding area.
According to Yarbrough, the sick leave bank now contains 600 sick leave days that were donated by employees through the years. That is enough sick days for six teacher to be off work for three months.
But it is not as simple as just doing away with the sick leave bank. Those days were donated by employees, so if the board decides to dissolve the bank, those days will have to somehow be dealt back to workers that have paid them in. As the days were paid in over a number of years, it would be next to impossible to know exactly how many days each employee would be owed.
With the board’s guidance, Yarbrough and other district administrators will explore their options before the next board meeting, schedule for Monday, February 23 at 5:30 p.m.
In other business, DPP Todd Marshall presented the board with three possible school year calendars. The board will review those calendars and likely adopt one at the next meeting. At the request of Dr. Yarbrough, which ever calendar they adopt will most likely be the same calendar used for the 2016-2017 school year as well.
To view the proposed calendars, visit and vote for your favorite in a poll.
District officials also covered the creation of a new Communication Plan. The new plan would replace the district ‘Writing Plan’ with a new common core friendly plan that encompasses writing, listening and language skills.

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