Public school teachers in California are forced by state law to pay for their own substitute teachers when they take extended sick leave. Teachers in the state get 10 sick days a year, followed by 100 extra days of leave. During that latter time, the cost of a substitute teacher is deducted from the teacher’s salary. In San Francisco, that cost is $203 per day. The salary of the average teacher in the district is about $82,000 per year so even teachers who make more than that can lose about half their pay to cover the cost of a substitute.
Unlike many of California’s public employees, teachers don’t pay into the state’s disability insurance program and don’t receive benefits from it.
The state teachers union, the California Teachers Association, is in talks with lawmakers about reforming the law to address the issue but has cautioned that additional funding will be needed.
“When you’re in an underfunded system, you’re still robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Eric Heins, the union president.
NPR, May 20