Sabbatical leaves could be casualty of Avoyelles School District budget woes

Sabbatical leaves for Avoyelles School District teachers and school administrators may be harder to come by than in the past. Superintendent Blaine Dauzat told the Finance Committee June 20, that he may not grant such requests in the future.

Dauzat told board members sabbatical leave is very costly to the school system. The school system must pay teachers and administrators 65 percent of their salary while on sabbatical leave, which can be for up to a year.

During that time, the school system must also hire a full-time teacher for that year, usually a retired teacher returning or a long-term substitute teacher to replace the teacher on leave.

“Sabbatical leave is a nice thing to have, but it is also expensive,” Dauzat said. “With the tight budget we currently have, in the future, sabbatical leave will be tough to grant.”

A teacher or administrator can take a sabbatical leave to go back to school to further their education or for medical reasons.

In the past, School Board members had the right to grant sabbatical leave. However, state law has changed and now that decision rests solely with the superintendent.

“The sabbatical leave policy is crippling our school system,” Dauzat continued. “According to state law, the superintendent has the final say when it comes to sabbatical leave. I don’t even have to give a reason for refusing a sabbatical leave request.”

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