- The first five instructional days and the last five instructional days of the school year
- On any teacher in-service or orientation workdays
- When in the judgment of the immediate supervisor a qualified substitute cannot be secured
This is a result of the Board's cutting the substitute budget by over 20% for the next school year. The Administration is trying to cut down on the spikes in leave that create a high demand for substitutes. Teachers argue that this is too broad a brush, that principals will be able to deny leave based on availability of substitutes. The Superintendent counters that many of these leave plans, particularly around holidays, are made months in advance before the availability of substitutes can be known.
I'm not sure where I stand on this one; it has been sent to the Personnel committee for further review and there I'll have opportunity to ask questions and float some ideas before this comes to the full Board again. I'll ask the perspective of some of the principals and teachers I know also. I believe there are options for implementing this without a policy change. For instance, the Superintendent can direct principals not to approve leave more than 1 week in advance during the upcoming school year, or by however much lead time substitute availability can be known.
In any case, the LEA has asked its members to weigh in, and the School Board is getting dozens of emails from teachers as a result. This led me to contemplate the differences between public and private employment. My employer implements changes in HR policies in reaction to various conditions fairly commonly, and it would be simply bizarre for me to write to the President or the Board and lobby against the recent changes in paid time off that they implemented. On the one hand they aren't a public body as the School Board is, their deliberations are in private. On the other hand, this is a publicly traded company in which I own stock, so I do have a vote in the Board's membership.
The expectations for employment are different as well though... it isn't uncommon for private sector employees to switch companies, but public employees are to some degree expected to make a career of it, and much of our HR policies are intended to encourage long-term (even career-length) employment. In addition, LCPS has a virtual monopoly on K-12 education in Loudoun County. So an LCPS teacher can't contemplate switching to a different employer with the same freedom that I can.
This was just something I was thinking about as I go through these many teacher emails.