Abuse of Sick Time Reported in Natomas School District

The Sacramento Bee reports: "Teachers in Natomas Unified School District call in sick so frequently that sometimes there aren't enough substitutes to lead classes. School buses that carry children aren't always maintained on schedule, while district mechanics spend their time fulfilling contracts to fix vehicles from other agencies. These criticisms come in a new 250-page report commissioned by the district, which has suffered financial problems and high management turnover."

The report, conducted by an education consulting firm that was paid $80,000 for its services, was the result of three months of combing through records and interviewing staff members.

The report concluded that the 12,200-student district is dragged down by a "culture of entitlement" in which managers don't hold employees accountable for performance, or even for showing up to work.

In Natomas Unified, employees earn roughly one paid sick day per month. They can get up to 100 days of extended sick leave at half pay.

The district's new superintendent said absenteeism is accompanied by an inefficient system of arranging substitutes – the staffers responsible for calling substitutes don't come in until after school starts. The new leader said this will change. (Source: The Sacramento Bee, January 11.)

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