As Jefferson County Public School Board of Education members, I hope that you are aware of the extremely negative consequences of Dr. Hargens’ latest ploy to gain finances at the detriment of the teachers. For years, a teacher’s retirement pay included compensation for unused sick leave. For many retiring teachers, this is a substantial contribution to the pay schedule that the teachers will depend on for the rest of their lives. Central Office offered this perk to teachers to encourage them to attend school every day, without using the ten sick days allotted each year. A substitute teacher is necessary on many occasions, but most would agree that the level of instruction with a substitute teacher cannot compare to that of the classroom teacher. Also, Central Office must pay the salary of the substitute in addition to the salary of the regular teacher. So in terms of both quality instruction and salary outlay, Central Office benefits when the regular classroom teacher is present. This is a win/win situation. Instruction remains on its highest level, and those teachers who came to school every day even through illness and personal turmoil are rewarded for their loyalty.
If you were at retirement age, would you continue if you thought your retirement pay would be drastically diminished? Very few could afford it. This is your LIFETIME salary. I know many teachers who are beyond retirement age, but they love their jobs and prefer to keep educating children. However, I personally know two who regretfully retired or will in the next few months because they do not trust that their sick leave salary will be available in this contract. Why should they trust??? They entered a school year with no contract!! They agreed to work without knowledge of their payment. How many workers in the work force would agree to this? The JCPS School Board and the Central Office were aware of the first day of school. Why weren’t the proper meetings held to insure that the contract was settled? And because of that lack of trust, JCPS is going to lose the wisdom, the experience, the carefully- built program leadership of loyal employees who would prefer to work but don’t trust the leadership to continue to do the right thing for the students and the teachers of Jefferson County Public Schools.
You must do the right thing and stop any consideration of the termination of the sick leave reimbursement. Dr. Hargens says in the Courier Journal : ” The whole reason for a district, the whole reason for being, is learning.”
I wonder. . . . . . . .
This letter was submitted via our Open Letter Form. Their information, while known to Dear JCPS, is kept anonymous for their protection. Board members may request to be put in contact with these authors at any time.