By Steve Large

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.”

Comments (13)
  1. James Smith says:

    I believe at this stage of the economy, one can blame them (Teachers) or anyone from taking what their Unions have fought for. My goodness. Have not the Teachers suffered enough. And what BLOCKS has this “expert” been around?

  2. Kendra Murdock says:

    It also does not mention that the District uses up all of a teacher’s sick leave before it can even go into Extended Sick Leave. How many teacher’s were out on Maternity Leave? What percentage of those numbers is representative of Family Care Leave? Teachers are human beings. Teachers get sick, Teachers have families who get sick. I am very upset with this report shedding negative light on teachers without all the facts.

  3. Ginger Reese says:

    Cut the pay at the top not the bottom. Kids go to school sick all the time. How do they know that they are not sick. The way the kids treat the teachers now is a shame. What happened to respect those who are older than you. If parents would keep their sick kids home maybe the teachers would not mii so much school. California is close to the bottom on what the State pays per student.

  4. Angry Parent says:

    I happen to know for a fact that one teacher in particular at Natomas Middle School is often NEVER there. My daughter dealt with a substitute teacher for 90% of the school year. The long term sub who replaced the absentee teacher was then replaced with another teacher who served the students for the remainder of the year. The next school year my daughter was assigned again to this same teacher. We quickly had her changed out of her class. I later learned that her pattern continued. I also happen to know for a fact that this district is always looking for subs to fill in for absentee teaching staff. This report does not shed a negative light on teachers… it sheds light on a district, which has employees who are embittered by a failing system Unfortunately, it is the kids that are suffering.

    1. Parents with kids says:

      110% Agree with you!

    2. JMHO55 says:

      Absolutely correct; if the system is being abused I fault the administrators who let teachers get away with this. What is the district’s policy regarding notes from doctors for absences longer than a few days? How do these numbers compare with absences in other districts? To pay teachers on leave and then have to also pay for subs is costing the district, and ultimately the students, a heap of money.

  5. Happy Golfing says:

    Hell, I knew a teacher would take Fridays off to play golf and drink beer every month.

  6. Barbara says:

    As a retired teacher, I know teachers receive 10 days a year sick leave not a 100 days a year. Any days you have left at the end of the year is added to the next year. This report is misleading!!!! As many people mentioned, they don’t give reasons for the sick leave used such as maternity leave or catastrophic illnesses for themselves or a family member. The teachers are not responsible for the financial failures of the district!!! The administrators are in charge of all the budgets. How about cutting some of the fat from the top??? Too many administrators!!! In 34 years of teaching the district never offered one paid day
    off which is the rule for all teachers in different districts. We were contracted for so many days a year and it doesn’t matter how they are distributed throughout the year!!

  7. A Villavicencio says:

    Looks to me like a leadership problem. The Chiefs need to wake up and blame themselves and then figure out how to fix their mistakes. i also read the report, it is available at the NUSD school district website, it looks like management is about to ask teachers to give another pay cut, lay off more teachers (targeting special education heavily) and, to top it off, hire more administrators and raise their wages.


    NUSD does have problems

    1. Alissa says:

      You said it. Where is their Board in all of this? I read the Sacramento Bee and the Board President blames the previous Superintendent(s) for this, but who hires the Superintendent if not the Board? Who keeps these yahoos year after year?

      My sister works for Natomas and she’s always working, she goes to work sick and we have to beg her to take a day off. On top of that, she’s had her pay cut for the last 2-1/2 years, and agreed to keep the cut going for another 2-1/2 years.

      Does that money go back to the children? No, the very Superintendent who is “fed up” with the absenteeism has hired his cronies as consultants spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. He also gets paid two times to do one job: a salary as the Superintendent and another salary as a consultant. That district has more consultants than the Governor himself.

      Where is everyone’s righteous Indignation as this man double-dips from the district, or is his kind of fraud acceptable?

      1. StudentsFirst says:

        It is easy to blame the board but the board doesn’t monitor the sick leave except to approve extended leave. The board’s job is not to insert them into the day to day operations. They do rely on their superintendent to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen. That said, I do not know how anyone can take 100 days off during a school year without being on some type of family or medical leave. The human resources staff should have made sure anyone taking more than a 3 days of sick leave in a row. As for the superintendent double dipping at the expense of the district that is something that the board would have decided. Without more information that decision looks a little suspect. It seems to be that the district needed a major intervention so it may have been that the district’s board felt they needed to bring in someone they thought would help turn the district around. I am sure there are great teachers and staff in the district. It is a matter of finding those that are and getting those that won’t or can’t out. Bottom line – let’s make sure the kids are getting a quality education.

  8. CMian says:

    It is district policy that you must use sick time before you can go into Extended Sick Leave. This includes Maternity Leave and Family Care Leave: people having children, taking care of dying family, etc. – a right in this country. By the way, no one has mentioned the fact that if teachers were indeed “using up their sick time,” how could they possibly have accrued 100 sick days?????? That is the equivalent of 10 years sick time IF NO SICK time had been used in those 10 years.

    I urge the public to step off the rediculously propagandaed band wagon of bashing teachers and public education and blaming them for all of societies ills BEFORE doing a little real investigation into the issues. In other words – stop listening and reiterating what the people WIITH AN AGENDA are feeding you, and start using your own brain to figure out the truth.

  9. child first decision maker says:

    StudentsFirst is an oxymoron!!! HAHAHA. Their goal is to dismantel public education and replace it with a voucher system and charter schools. While this might sound good, consider the fact that private schools and charters cherry pick their students, so the kids who need the most academic attention will (just like in the pre-civil rights era) be left behind again! This is not a good fix for public education.

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