FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 15, 2013
Douglas County Federation of Teachers files lawsuit over
rehiring of laid-off teachers and termination of sick leave bank
Castle Rock, Colo.—Douglas County Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit today claiming that the school district illegally refused to consider teachers for job openings after their positions had been eliminated, and another suit asking the district to reimburse teachers for sick leave days they donated to a sick leave bank that was terminated unilaterally by the school district.
The two lawsuits, filed in Douglas County District Court, were bundled into one filing.
“This is about treating teachers fairly and professionally and acting within the law. The school district is set on demonizing teachers, disregarding the importance of experience, and ‘nickel and diming’ them instead of focusing on our children succeeding in the classroom,” said DCFT President Brenda Smith.
“The teachers who were downsized out of a job are veteran teachers with 60 plus years of teaching experience between them. When teaching positions opened up, the district passed them over,” DCFT President Brenda Smith said. “Not only does this violate state law, it hurts our kids in the classroom. Experience matters in teaching, just as it does in medicine, engineering and other professions.”
For decades, Douglas County teachers donated one sick day a year to a sick leave bank to be used in case of long-term illnesses after they exhausted their own sick leave days. When the Douglas County School Board terminated the sick bank in July 2012, there were roughly 10,000 days remaining in the bank.
Sarah Staebell, a teacher at Northeast Elementary in Parker, has used up her sick leave days for extensive cancer treatments and now no longer has a bank to pull from. The willing donation by teachers of their sick days was intended for use by people like Sarah. Now, she not only faces health related hardship, but massive financial hardship as well.
“You can see the real human impact of decisions the District makes when you look at people like Sarah,” said Smith.
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