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California teacher undergoing cancer treatment forced to pay her substitute's salary


This is the current law throughout the state

Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images

A California law is forcing a teacher to pay for her own substitute while she undergoes cancer treatment. But she's not alone. This type of thing is mandated in state law.

What's the story?

Under California law, teachers have 10 sick days, and can take an additional 100 days of extended medical leave. However, after their initial 10 sick days are up, their pay is docked per day in order to pay for a substitute. This law was a response to teachers opting in 1976 not to pay into California's disability insurance program.

An unnamed second-grade teacher at Glen Park Elementary in San Francisco, where she has taught for the past 17 years, is currently paying a daily $195 fine under this law while she undergoes breast cancer treatment. The law only says that the deduction has to be "less than the salary due the employee absent from his or her duties.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, this can range anywhere from $174.66 to $240.26.

Outraged parents of children at the school have reportedly raised nearly $14,000 to cover this teacher's cost. According to KNBC-TV, the grateful teacher took the time to write thank you notes to each of the 22 students in her class after her surgery.

What else?

State Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) told KNBC that she was surprised to learn that this was a current law in her state.

"I just learned of this issue, and it seems kind of outrageous," she said. "Candidly, I think the times have changed, and now it's our job to change with the times." Chino is the head of the state senate's Education Committee.

California isn't the only state with such a law in place. According to KQED, New York City has a similar policy requiring teachers out on sick leave to fund their substitutes.

After the 100 days run out, if a teacher still needs to take additional time off, they can use up to 85 days from a bank of sick days donated by other teachers from their district. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, there are 511 days currently in that sick day bank.

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