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Calif. Teacher With Cancer Must Pay for Her Substitute

It's in the state code, officials say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2019 7:06 PM CDT
Updated May 10, 2019 1:00 AM CDT
A second-grade teacher dealing with cancer is being billed for her substitute.   (Getty/ DONGSEON_KIM)

(Newser) – A California teacher battling cancer has to pay for her substitute, but school district officials say it's not their fault. "This is not unique to San Francisco," a spokesperson emailed BuzzFeed, saying it's all in the state's Education Code. "This is not a district-only rule." The Chronicle had reported that a second-grade teacher with breast cancer, who will miss the rest of the school year, has to cover the cost of a substitute out of her paycheck. Teachers don't pay into the state's disability insurance program, so they can't receive benefits from it, per BuzzFeed. They get 10 sick days per year, then are allowed another 100 days of extended sick leave. During the extended leave, the cost of a substitute teacher is deducted from the sick teacher's check.

"So they are receiving paid sick leave during these 100 days; it's just the amount is based on the teacher’s day rate minus the substitute cost," the spokesperson said. A substitute can cost as much as $240 per day, the Chronicle reports. To help the teacher with breast cancer pay her bill, a GoFundMe campaign that's now closed raised $13,000. A mother of two students at Glen Park Elementary said parents are "outraged and incredulous" at the policy and want it changed. Teachers, she said, seemed less outraged. "The teachers have sort of shrugged—like, yes, that’s how it is,” Amanda Fried said. "That makes it even more sad, because teachers expect to be treated poorly." (Read more teacher pay stories.)

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