Unused sick leave and vacation payouts add up in Pasco schools, too
The issue of whether Florida school districts pay out too much in unused sick leave and vacation time emerged this fall as the Pinellas School Board dumped former superintendent Julie Janssen. Her $199,998 payment caught many off-guard, and raised questions about whether the amounts should be capped.
Debate has since ensued, with many school workers arguing that they shouldn't lose yet another job benefit that they were promised long ago, often as a cushion for what they knew were low wages -- wages that haven't gone up in four years, no less. But it is a lot of money, many officials in charge of setting spending priorities say.
Consider Pasco County. The district paid out $5 million in unused sick and vacation time in 2009-10, and $6 million in 2010-11. Last year, 43 Pasco employees took home more than $50,000 in such payouts, including many who still work for the district. The five biggest checks went to:
- Marti Meacher, former staff development director, $152,189
- Renee Sedlack, former human resources director, $140,225
- Kathryn Rushe, former Trinity Elementary principal, $121,160
- Andy Kern, former adult education assistant principal, $104,533
- Eva Hunsberger, former Taylor Elementary principal, $103,831
The state already sets some limits on these payouts. Contract negotiations also establish additional rules. Should lawmakers and school board members be reconsidering?