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How Sacramento City schools can pay $500 for substitutes if teachers go on strike

Teachers who don't show up to work won't get paid, and that money will be used to pay a replacement teacher if there is a strike.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With concern over a teacher’s strike, Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is brushing off options that they had on the table when similar concerns came to them in 2017.

“We’re just dusting off everything we had prepared for that strike and utilizing it for this planned strike next week,” said Alex Barrios, spokesperson for SCUSD.

RELATED: Sacramento teachers plan to strike next week

Even though the district believes many teachers will actually stay in their classrooms, they are preparing to have substitutes and emergency teachers to make sure the school day continues.

Normally, a substitute can make anywhere from $130 to $200 for ongoing work. However, for April 11, the district would offer substitutes and emergency teachers up to $500 a day if a strike occurs.

RELATED: How a $425 substitute salary in Rocklin compares to regional schools

Where does that $500 figure come from?

The emergency replacement teachers will be paid up to $500 a day, which is close to the combined cost of salaries, pensions, benefits, and other welfare payments that the district pays their teachers.

“The money to pay for replacement teachers comes directly from the savings we would achieve from teachers who don’t come to work,” said Barrios.

“If you don’t come to work, you don’t get paid, and that money will be used to pay for a replacement teacher,” he added. “It’s that simple.”

Are these teachers qualified?

“Parents shouldn’t be worried about the quality of individuals that will be coming into our classrooms. They will be fully screened," said Barrios. "We will make sure that they are prepared to work with kids before coming into the classroom.”

These teachers have passed the same test that credentialed teachers have to pass, have emergency credentials, and some even have full teaching credentials or are already substituting in the district.

About 300 of the emergency replacement teachers they recruited in 2017 are believed to be teaching at SCUSD now. Other options include calling on administrators with credentials and even retired teachers.

“These are people who would be otherwise qualified to be new teachers in our school district, because our requirements for emergency teachers are essentially the same requirements it would take to be a new teacher in our school district,” Barrios said.


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