Commission says district should cap sick day buyouts; union says teachers will miss more days

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A commission tasked with reviewing Columbus schools’ finances and operations has recommended capping unused sick day bonuses for retiring employees, and the teachers union is already hurling threats.

dollar-appleMembers of Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s Education Committee contend that capping unused sick day bonuses could save the district an estimated $1 million per year that could be folded back into academics, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Teachers union president Rhonda Johnson, however, disagrees with the committee’s conclusion because she said teachers will simply take more time off, requiring the district to pay for the leave at 100 percent, as well as more substitute teachers.

Ohio law gives teachers 15 paid sick leave days each year, and in Columbus the teachers union contract states they can accumulate the unused days without limit. Teachers can take up to 10 sick days off in a row without a doctor’s note, as well as three days off to care for a relative without a note.

Unused sick days are paid out upon retirement, at a rate of 25 to 45 percent of a day’s wages, depending on the number accrued.

Columbus teachers also receive two extra paid sick days in the union contract, which are reimbursed at 50 percent if unused, according to the newspaper.

That’s 17 paid sick days per year. No wonder Ohio’s public school districts are all but broke.

But Johnson said teachers will not cooperate with the plan to cut school costs.

“People would take off a year sick” and then retire, Johnson told the committee. “It seems good on paper, but then when it gets done, it costs you more.”

Johnson may be right, if the union encourages its members to use their maximum number of sick days. But the state will still hold the trump card. It could change the very generous law that gives all teachers 15 sick days per year. Perhaps 10 would be enough, or maybe six or seven.

That way the teachers could follow through on their treat, and no great financial damage would be done.

If the union wants to play hardball, the state should play the same game.

By Victor Skinner at

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  1. $4119491 says

    FIRE the unions, CAP the sick days to something reasonable (like 30 or a match of the number of days of annual vacation time they are eligible for) and TEACH CHILDREN rather than indoctrinating them.

  2. $12994363 says

    Time to rein in the greedy basturds. Let them go on strike and lose their pay for several weeks and they’ll be happy to give some of their benefits back. As for the kids, they’ll be far better off watching National Geographic or the History Channel. Or reading a few books. IF they’ve learned to read in the schools, that is! (Not terribly likely considering what passes for a HS “graduate” these days. The only ones who do a bit better are the College grads. And then only a tiny bit better.

  3. hitthedeck says

    That was not a opinion by the Union President Ronda Johnson, it was a threat.

  4. foxxybey says

    The answer is simple get rid of the NEA and the union teachers, those who want to teach and not propagandize the kids stay and those who want a union and their control find another job.

  5. fort9erdon says

    If this is such a big deal, (which it really is) and these “buybacks” are such a major expense because of unused sick days, one VERY obvious conclusion can be reached! THEY GET TOO MANY SICK DAYS IN THEIR CONTRACT! Sick days are exactly that, SICK DAYS! These days are NOT for saving them up to retirement, then cashing them in like a savings bond, to but a new boat, or 36 foot RV, with 4 slideouts, or that cabin in the woods. CUT THE SICK DAYS, PERIOD, NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS!!!

  6. Graywolf12 says

    Forget the children, forget the tax payers, and feed the greedy union,m teachers, and DNC. It is no wonder more teachers drop out of the union every year. They are the honest compitent ones.

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