The Los Alamitos Unified School District announced on Tuesday an agreement with its teacher’s union to begin a shared bank of accured sick leave hours that will offer teachers an opportuhity to share their sick leave with fellow employees who find themselves in a distressed or catastrophic situation.
“The Memorandum of Understanding allows employees to donate hours from their own sick time to a bank of hours where you can receive or request hours,” announced Dr. Joe Fraser, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, at the board’s most recent board meeting.
Fraser said the MOU was worked with the Los Alamitos Education Association during their most recent bargaining session. He thaanked outgoing LAEA head Stacy Smith, who was at the meeting for her final report, confirmed the move.
Fraser said in the case of “an accident to yourself, your family or children, employees can request to withdraw from the new hour bank of sick time hours. Fellow employees can donate portions of their own unused sick leave to assist fellow employees.
“A lot of work was put into this as we met as a committee the other day so we are happy to bring this forward to the board,” he said.
Los Al Unified Board member Marlys Davidson, who taught in the system for 25 years before being elected to the board, lost a daughter to cancer more than two decades ago. She applauded the move.
“I would just like to say something as a family member and as a former employee who spent 20 months fighting for my daughter’s life,” Davidson said.
In 1996, her daughter Stephanie, then a Griffin cheerleader, was discovered to have a rare form of soft muscle tissue cancer after having what was thought to be a cheering injury checked. Davidson’s daughter died twenty months later; a few days short of her high school graduation.
“To be able to lift the burden of how you’re going to be able to keep your home, or you know, pay your bills,” is an amazing gift to employees, she suggested.
“And to have it come from a team effort from all your friends and fellow employees is why Los Al Unified is such a great place,” said Davidson. Having gone through it, “you have no idea how terrifying it is to have to make decisions like that,” she said, again thanking the community for the support she and her family received.
“In the last few years we’ve had teachers who had these situations, and going forward what a huge difference this makes,” said Davidson, thanking Smith and Fraser for their work.
“It takes a burden off the heart of somebody who’s already really hurting,” she added.
Board member Meg Cutuli said “I think it shows such a reflection of compassion for one another and support,” adding that it further allows all of the school sites to become “like another family.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the measure, clearing the way for Fraser and the LAEA to implement the plan.