School Board Authorizes Sick Leave Bank

August 10, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night authorized the implementation of a Sick Leave Bank to provide certified employees of the school system extended sick leave benefits to cover catastrophic illnesses.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says he will request a waiver from the State Education Commissioner to start the program this school year, since by law it must be in place by August 1st.

The Sick Leave Bank does not include support staff, but based upon further research, a local policy could be adopted in the future to include non-certified personnel.

The request for the Sick Leave Bank was presented to the board Thursday night by John Isabell, President of the DeKalb County Education Association. \"Last week, some teachers approached me about finding out how we might be able to establish a Sick Leave Bank for teachers. Some of them also contacted Mr. Willoughby and we both have since been researching how one would go about it. Apparently according to Tennessee law, in order to have a Sick Leave Bank, you have to have twenty teachers request it. We have probably over 100 teachers that have requested it.\"

\"A Sick Leave Bank serves the purpose of allowing teachers to contribute some of their stored up sick leave days into a pool that would allow teachers who are experiencing a catastrophic event, such as a sickness in the family or sickness to themselves, who have exhausted their own sick leave, the ability to go into that pool and use some of those days.\"

According to research compiled by Materials Supervisor Larry Johnson, the Sick Leave Bank is a voluntary statewide program for certified employees of Tennessee Public Schools, established by state law. Members donate earned sick leave to the bank (possible 3 days) and are then eligible to supplement normal paid sick leave if diagnosed or an immediate family member is diagnosed with a serious or catastrophic illness.

Certified employees may enroll from August 1st through October 31st. Enrollment forms must be received in the DBE office prior to the enrollment deadline or membership must wait until the next enrollment period.

New employees beginning after October 31st will have 30 days to enroll. Three days will be deducted from the employees total sick days available.

The Sick Leave Bank, if necessary to sustain the program, may request additional donations of sick leave days.

A participant shall not receive any sick leave from the Bank until after having exhausted all accumulated sick, personal, and or annual leave including all paid extensions.

The member must be off the payroll for six consecutive workdays prior to receiving benefits.

Members must submit an application to the Sick Leave Bank Trustees for review. Medical documentation must accompany the application.

The employee will be notified in writing the status of the application.

Days are awarded 20 at a time for up to 60 days the first year with a total of 90 days in two years.

An application for benefits must be submitted for every 20 days of use.

According to state law, the Sick Leave Bank Trustees must include the Director of Schools (chair), two school board members, and two LEA appointees.

In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly written report on personnel.

Those employed for the 2006-2007 school year since last month include:

Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant at DeKalb West School; Beverly Starnes- part time cafeteria worker; Christie Bates- cafeteria worker; Michael Littrell- Art teacher at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School; Pamela Fults- Chorus Teacher at DeKalb County High School; Ray Robinson- Custodian at DCHS; Rebecca Oliver- half time ESL Teacher; James Ryan Smith- Assistant DeKalb Middle School Football Coach; Eric Drennan- Assistant DeKalb Middle School Football Coach; Pam Eldridge- Deaf Interpreter; Karen Elmore-teacher at Smithville Elementary School Pre-K; and Pamela Fults- Chorus at DCHS.

Those transferred include:

Jamie Vickers- transferred to Central Office Secretary; Teresa Miller- transferred to General Purpose Payroll/Bookkeeper; Kristy Lasser-transferred to Teacher position at Northside Elementary School; Jalene Vanatta-transferred to Secretary at DeKalb West School; Betty Cooper-transferred to Cafeteria Manager.

Resignations:

Gabina Alfaro- ESL Educational Assistant; Jonathon Carter-Art Teacher at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School; and Jamie Vickers- Assistant Basketball Coach at DeKalb West School and Substitute Bus Driver.

Leave of Absence: Tad Webb, teacher at Northside Elementary School, leave as requested.

Board Chairman Johnny Lattimore, on behalf of the school board, expressed appreciation to Fourth District member Keith Garrett whose term expires August 31st. \"We have truly appreciated Keith over the last four years. Sometimes I don't know what we would have done around here without him, especially with his expertise on the budget. He kept us in line on that and has been a great help. But he's done more than that, he's been a good board member.\"

Director Willoughby presented Garrett a plaque for his dedicated service to the board and school system.

Garrett wished his fellow board members, including his successor Joan Draper, Director Willoughby, teachers, principals, and all the school employees the best.

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