I recently wrote about a new report on paid teacher leave that prompted questions from posters. The findings were from the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality, which ranked 113 school systems nationwide.
Fulton teachers with 10 or more years’ experience receive 20 general leave days a year, among the most in the nation, according to the survey. Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County and Gwinnett County teachers get only 12.5 general leave days a year. Of the core metro counties, Cobb County offers the fewest (11.9). In Fulton, even teachers with less than 10 years’ experience get 15 general leave days a year.
A spokeswoman for the council read the comments on the blog and sent me this note:
It was great to see so many readers were interested in it too. In scanning the reader comments, there were a few questions we had info on:
1. Cobb County: The 11.9 days we cite comes from page 5 of this board policy . As you can see, employees who work 191 or 194 days get 11.875 sick days a year (which we rounded to 11.9) and 200-day employees get 12.5 days a year. We considered Cobb teachers 191/194-day employees because according to Cobb’s salary schedule (available here), teachers work either 190 or 193 days. It’s unclear why this would differ from Georgia law. In some states when a law is enacted there’s a grace period during which districts can still have an old policy in place–perhaps this is an example of that.
2. Number of days given vs. number taken: In one of our recent studies we looked at the number of leave days teachers “actually” took in nine school districts (see page 51). It turns out that in 6 of those 9 districts teachers took an average of 10 or fewer leave days a year. That indicates that, at least in some districts, teachers take less leave than they’re allotted.
3. What happens with unused leave: In the five Georgia districts we track (Atlanta, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett), all – except for Cobb County — give some payment to teachers at retirement for unused sick leave (though it can be small –in DeKalb teachers receive only $3-$9 per unused day). In Cobb County teachers don’t receive a cash payment for unused sick leave, but they do receive service credit for retirement.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog