SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Natomas Unified School District Superintendent is furious and fed up with a wave of teacher sick calls. A new report shows one in five employees used 100 sick days last year.
In his 26 years as a school superintendent Dr. Walt Hanline says this is a first.
“Shocking,” he said, “and I’ve been around the block more than once. It was shocking. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it in my life.”
The numbers add up to failure. An independent report commissioned by the district shows 36 percent of teachers and non-teaching staff used all of their allotted sick time in the last school year. Another 18 percent used their full extended sick time — 100 days off.
Natomas teachers association president Kristen Rocha says the numbers in the report are so surprising she disputes the findings.
“That seems extremely high,” she said. “I have to say I don’t think that’s true.”
Hanline said extended leave is available for life-changing events.
“Extended leave for example is for people who have cancer, people out for pregnancy leave,” he said. “The system is there for real good reason. The abuse of the system is what’s problematic.”
But students CBS13’s Steve Large spoke to at Inderkum High School say teachers routinely call in sick for extended periods of time.
“Like last year I failed a class because of the substitute, because he didn’t know what he was teaching,” said one student, who said the substitute was there for the final month of school.
The school district is already struggling with state funding. Now this report shows it’s been coughing up cash to pay for questionable employee sick time.
“That money comes from kids,” Hanline said. “It comes from programs for kids.”