Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring told the Senate Education Committee Tuesday that high absenteeism by some teachers is expensive and hurts education.
Duerring stressed that the majority of teachers and service workers do not abuse leave policies, but some do, and having a substitute just isn’t the same.
“For every day a teacher is out of the classroom that’s one less day that our students have with their regular teacher, and we think that’s important for 180-day instruction that we can have teachers there every day,” Duerring said.
Kanawha County spent more than $4 million last year for substitute teachers.
Duerring attributed part of the problem to teachers beginning the school year with 15 days of sick and personal leave time, which he said encourages absenteeism by some because they have the days upfront.
Instead, he suggested they follow the federal system where teachers and service workers earn time off for each month they work.
Carol Hamric, administrator of Human Resources for the Kanawha County school system, told committee members, “They have these days and they burn them.”