School Board May Cut Payouts For Sick Leave

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The Payson Unified School District will meet Monday to ponder whether to put a cap on payments for unused sick leave for long-term district employees who retire or get laid off.

The proposal has generated complaints and questions from teachers, already battered by bad news on the budget front.

Currently, school employees get between 7 and 9 sick days each year. After 10 years, teachers who retire, quit or get laid off get paid at the substitute teacher rate for any unused sick days.

Last year when the district laid off many teachers and administrators, payouts averaged $10,000. The district administration now estimates that for qualified teachers, the average payout would be closer to $3,000.

Now, the school board is considering putting a limit on the number of unused sick days teachers and administrators can accumulate for that payoff — although they could still take the full allotment of unused days in case of an extended illness.

In addition, the board will discuss whether to revive an informal “meet and confer” process to talk to teachers and other employees about working conditions and contract terms. The board used to hold such sessions with employee groups, but discontinued them several years ago when they became contentious. The district’s employees and teachers don’t have a union, unlike many larger districts.

Other items on the agenda for the 5:30 meeting in the board room at the district office on the Julia Randall Elementary School campus on Main Street include the approval of two grant funded programs —one would provide extra academic help for homeless and displaced students, the second would form a partnership with Rio Salado Community College in the Valley to help train science and math teachers.

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