When our local school districts investigate allegations of misconduct by teachers and faculty, those staff members are often placed on paid leave. So we wanted to find out just how many employees our districts put on leave and what it’s costing you, the taxpayer.
There are various reasons an employee might be put on paid administrative leave and it’s the responsibility of a school district to offer a fair investigation.
KREM2 put in public records requests with three local school districts; Spokane, Central Valley and Mead. Most of the data looked pretty average, but there were a few numbers that were surprising.
The Mead School district employs around 540 people. Since 2006, seven employees have been put on paid leave at a cost of about $36,000 in wages.
The Central Valley School District employs around 1,600 full-time faculty. 46 of them were placed on paid leave since 2006. Most of the leave periods ranged from a few weeks to several months; however three teachers were put on leave for almost two years. School administrators say those longer leaves are usually because those investigations took longer to complete.
According to Central Valley, all three teachers returned to work. In total, the district paid out more than $350,000 in wages and benefits to the trio.
An estimated 3,200 full-time employees work for the Spokane School District. Since 2006, 108 employees were put on paid leave. Of those on leave, 70 employees resigned. In the end the district paid out more than $1 million.
The district officials KREM2 spoke with couldn’t comment on specific cases, but say they work as diligently as possible to return teachers to the classroom.