Bill would eliminate back pay for instructors arrested for drug offenses.
The California Senate Thursday adopted a measure authored by Sen. George Runner that will allow school districts to withhold back-pay compensation to employees who were on administrative leave while enrolled in drug diversion programs.
“At a time when California schools are struggling to provide basic services to students, we need to carefully evaluate every dollar we spend,” Runner said. “This common sense measure will allow us to do that.”
Senate Bill 1303 provides protection for school districts to prevent drug offending school employees from taking advantage of a loophole in the law, which forces school districts to pay large amounts of back pay to school employees who are arrested for drug use. This requirement is only found in the Education Code and does not apply to any employee outside the context of public education.
Paid leave might last upwards of a year and it could run into thousands of dollars. In one case, Palmdale Unified School District paid more than $105,000 to two employees in one year for back pay and in 2002 the Santa Clara Unified School District was required to pay a school employee $304,000. These expenses were in addition to the fact that the schools hired and paid substitutes.
“By passing this bill, members of the Senate are sending a strong message that they are serious about investing as much money into the classroom and putting an end to wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money,” Runner said.
The measure is supported by the Palmdale School District, Los Angeles County Office of Education and the Contra CostaSchool District, among others. It passed 24-13. It next moves to the Assembly.