Martin schools allow employees to donate sick days to coworkersApril 21st, 2010 by TCPalm.com
STUART — In response to the situation of Palm City Elementary teacher Karen Gangi, whose colleagues wanted to donate their accrued sick leave so Gangi could stay by her husband Rob’s side, the Martin County School District is looking to create a compassionate leave bank.
On Tuesday, the Martin County School Board gave initial approval to the proposed policy that would allow employees to donate accumulated sick leave to coworkers with a spouse, child or family member who is experiencing a catastrophic illness or injury.
The School Board approved the policy in a 4-to-1 vote with board member Laurie Gaylord casting the dissenting vote.
“I’m not opposed to it, I’m just not comfortable with all the verbiage,” Gaylord said.
Board members requested the policy be changed slightly to include more specifics before they give final approval at a future meeting.
Rob Gangi, a real estate agent from Palm City, suffered a brain injury while skate boarding Dec. 26 as he visited family for the holidays in North Carolina. He was in a coma for three weeks.
Karen Gangi, a second grade teacher, ran out of paid sick leave in early February and school district officials have been looking for ways to allow fellow employees to donate their own paid time off.
Karen Gangi returned back to school on April 12, Palm City Elementary Principal Nancy Marin said, adding that her husband was still recovering in North Carolina.
Teachers get sick leave but not paid vacation days, since most are off work several weeks during summer. Many school administrators work year-round and do accrue vacation days.
Board member Maura Barry-Sorenson recommended that the district test the policy for a year before cementing the details.
“It’s an incredibly necessary policy, however what I would suggest on this is that we test it for a year,” Barry-Sorenson said. “I think we should monitor how this whole process is going to work and reevaluate at a later date to modify or amend.”
Marin said she thought the policy was a good idea and credited Superintendent Nancy Kline for taking on the cause.
“Had she not taken that up as a cause we wouldn’t have anything,” Marin said. “What Nancy Kline did was to look into a way to have some kind of policy and to me some kind of policy is better then no policy.”
But Marin said she wondered how hard it would be for someone to donate to the bank. The proposed policy says the employee donating time “must hold at least 30 days of accrued sick leave as of the last duty day and have used no more than two of their 10 days of accrued sick/personal leave during the year.”
“I wonder how hard it will be for anybody to really access it if the board passes it,” Marin said. “I can’t because I haven’t got any days.”
In other matters Tuesday, the Martin County School Board:
Approved the 2010 summer school programs, which include a third grade reading camp and voluntary pre-kindergarten at J.D. Parker School of Science, Math & Technology and Warfield Elementary. The reading camp is for third-graders who scored at the lowest level on the reading portion Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and risk not being promoted to fourth grade. The voluntary pre-k program is for students who will be entering kindergarten in August and have not participated in the program that Florida voters approved in 2002. Warfield Elementary and Indiantown Middle are also offering grant-funded enrichment programs for 10 days for incoming kindergarten students and incoming fourth-graders.
Approved the resignation of Joe Alvarez as transportation director. Alvarez was hired for the position on Jan. 4 and came from Texas. The effective date of his resignation was listed as March 22.