RACINE, Wis. – Public schools traditionally pay big dollars for expensive perks given to teachers, based on the terms of union contracts.

where your school dollars goIn Wisconsin, that’s not as much of an issue any more, due to Act 10 of 2011, which curbed public union collective bargaining rights.

But some Wisconsin school districts are still paying big bucks for employee perks for school administrators. A good example is the Racine district, where administrators get a lot of paid time off.

A total of 150 Racine administrators took a total of 4,339 paid leave days in 2014-15. That comes out to an average of 28.9 days per administrator.

Why were so many taken? Because school district policy allows and encourages it.

For instance, the district gives first-year administrators 10 days of paid vacation for the year, then 20 after their first year. The total number of allowable days increases by one every year of service beyond 20, with a maximum of 30 days.

That policy resulted in 2,777 vacation days taken by administrators, for an average of 18.5 per administrator.

Those vacation days are on top of the paid holidays that administrators get for New Year’s Eve day, New Year’s Day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Good Friday, the day after Easter, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve day and Christmas.

Then there are the sick days, which administrators earn at a rate of one per month. They took a total of 992 in 2014-15 for an average of 6.6 per employee.

All the paid vacation and sick days, on top of all the other miscellaneous paid days off – like jury duty, military leave, personal leave, union business and bereavement – came to the total of 4,339.

But the problem doesn’t end there.

The Racine district has an unused vacation day policy for administrators, which allows them to bank up to 180 and receive compensation for them at some point. A written policy provided by the district doesn’t make it clear whether unused vacation day payouts are at periodic intervals or retirement, but they certainly are expensive.

The Racine district paid administrators for 872.39 unused vacation days in 2014-15, which totaled a hefty $280,893.

The future looks expensive, as well. At the end of the 2014-15 school year, district administrators had banked a total of 6,340.57 unused sick days and 2,350.30 unused vacation days, for future payouts.

That means Racine taxpayers are going to be paying for a lot of nothing for quite a while.

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