ROCHESTER, N.Y.  – The Rochester school district’s sick day and vacation policy for administrators appears to be a bit problematic.

Spending report graphicThe district takes it on the chin when principals, vice principals, department heads and other administrators are absent, which happens quite frequently.

The district also takes it on the chin when they come to work, because they receive healthy payouts for unused sick days, as well as attendance bonuses.

Under terms of the district’s contract with the administrator union, employees earn one paid sick day per month and can bank up to 220 unused sick days.

They are also given between 25 and 30 paid vacation days per year, depending on when they were hired.

Does such a policy encourage employees to miss work? Apparently so.

In 2014-15, 306 Rochester administrators took 3,554 sick days, for an average of 11.61 per employee.

They also took 3,973 vacation days, for an average of 12.95 per employee.

They are allowed to take up to three paid personal days, and averaged just over two per employee.

They took 1,860 paid miscellaneous leave days for an average of 6.08 per employee.

That comes out to an average of about 33 days of paid absences per year per employee. Were most of those absences during the summer, when most students were off and administrative work was perhaps less important? We can only hope so, considering the Rochester district’s dismal academic record.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, just 3.8% of Rochester 8th graders were proficient or better in reading and writing, while a shocking .8% — yes, less than 1% — of 8th graders were proficient in math.

But then there was the headache of paying off administrators with good attendance habits.

Employees are allowed to bank up to 40 unused vacation days and cash them in when they leave the district. Those who retire with at least 15 years of consecutive service, and used fewer than 15 sick days in the previous five years, are also given a $10,000 bonus.

Following the 2014-15 school year, administrators cashed in 4,018 unused vacation days, which cost the district $1.6 million.

The total number of banked vacation days at the end of the school year was 11,226, which, according to our calculations, left the district on the hook for about $4.6 million in future payouts for unused vacation days. And that’s a running total, with more payouts and more unused days banked every year.

The situation is obviously much more expensive than already stated, but due to the lack of information provided by the Rochester district, we can’t say how much.

For instance, we don’t know how much the district paid out at the end of 2014-15 in retirement attendance bonuses.

And we don’t know how much was paid out in compensation for unused sick days. Administrators had accumulated 31,062 unused sick days at the end of 2014-15 while teachers had a total of 201,029. Are retiring administrators and teachers compensated for those days every year, as well? If so, how much does it cost on an annual basis?

We strongly suspect the answer would make taxpayers gasp.

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