Parents outraged after California teacher diagnosed with cancer forced to pay sub's wages while on leave
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Parents in San Francisco are outraged after discovering that a cancer-stricken teacher will have to cover the costs of her substitute for the remainder of the school year while she is on sick leave.

According to a report published by The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, the second-grade teacher, who works at Glen Park Elementary and wishes to remain anonymous, is required by state law to cover the wages of her substitute while she is out on sick leave. 

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Amanda Fried, who has two children that attend the school, told the newspaper that “parents were outraged and incredulous” upon hearing the news.

“There must be some mistake,” Fried said.

Laura Dudnick, a representative for the San Francisco school district, told the paper that the salary arrangement is “not unique to San Francisco,” adding: “This is not a district-only rule.” 

Under a policy that was added to the state’s education code in 1976, school districts are able to deduct wages from teachers who are absent from their “duties on account of illness or accident for a period of five months or less” in order to cover the costs of having substitute employee fill his or her position during the absence.

Susan Solomon, the head of the city’s teachers’ union, told the Chronicle that the union has a bank for sick days that currently holds north of 500 days contributed by other teachers in the district. But she added that sick teachers are restricted to a maximum of 85 days from the fund. 

“Officially, we have nothing in the contract beyond that,” Solomon said. “I think we could always do better. In a broader sense, I think single-payer health care is the answer.”