Teachers, other staff can choose to sell their personal days back to the district

Apr 8, 2021

Teachers and other Wareham Public Schools staff members will soon have the option to sell some or all of their personal days back to the school district.

In the hopes of minimizing the need for substitute teachers — who are in short supply these days — and reducing the number of people who come in and out of schools each day, the School Committee approved a plan to buy back personal days allotted to teachers and other staff members.

Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood asked the committee to consider the personal day buy-back plan during an April 8 meeting, and the committee members who were present unanimously voted to approve the plan.

Depending on whether or not staff members have rolled over a personal day from the previous year (as is allowed in their contract), they have either three or four personal days to use throughout the year. Shaver-Hood said many teachers haven’t yet used their personal days, which are available on a “use-them-or-lose-them” basis and — with the exception of that one day — cannot be rolled over to the next school year.

Because of the use-them-or-lose-them policy and the realities of covid-19, Shaver-Hood proposed that the district offer to buy back staff personal days this year.

The district worked with the Wareham Education Association on the proposed plans, each of which will only be in effect for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Shaver-Hood proposed the following buyback plans: 

• $175 per personal day for Unit A and B staff, which includes classroom teachers and assistant principals.

• $90 per personal day for Unit C and D staff, which includes paraprofessionals and secretaries

• A voucher for classroom supplies worth the same amount staff would have received in cash for each personal day.

Shaver-Hood was clear that the proposed amounts for the buy-back plan were “not reflective of what [the staff] would make per day.” Instead, she said it was “about 1/10th of what they would make,” and noted that the amount was averaged across the various pay scales.

At a March School Committee meeting, Shaver-Hood said she added the last option because of how common it is for teachers to have to spend their own money on supplies. Under this plan, the staff member would essentially spend what their personal day is worth on classroom supplies instead.

Teachers could choose to utilize both options, depending on the number of personal days they have available.

Shaver-Hood was pleased with the committee’s decision to approve the plan. 

“It certainly does help us keep our teachers in front of our students, and then the staff will not lose their [personal] days,” she said.