Teachers union fires back on leave policy for #bridgepocalypse
Students who attended Chugiak- or Eagle River-area schools were given excused absences last Thursday and Friday after thousands of motorists spent hours in traffic Wednesday following detours to avoid an overpass that was severely damaged after being struck by a semi hauling an oversized load.
Teachers, however, did not.
A KTVA viewer sent in a tip on Monday showing an email from the Anchorage School District's chief human resource officer, Todd Hess. The subject line read "Employees unable to attend work".
The text of the email read:
If an employee was unable to attend work on Thursday March 22, 2018 due to the Eagle River road closure the employee should request in EMP Center annual/personal leave for the absence. If annual/person leave is unavailable, the employee should request leave without pay (LWOP).
Catherine Essary, spokesperson for ASD, confirms that teachers were not given an excused absence, unlike students, saying, "Thursday was not a school closure date."
She also said that most employees did make it work Thursday, though it's not yet clear how many made it on time.
Essary said that for students, Thursday was treated like any other school day.
"Parents make the best choice for their children. If a student misses school for any reason and a parent notifies the school, it can be determined that a student's absence is excused," she said.
As for Friday, "it was a school closure day for the school in Eagle River and Chugiak. It was a paid day for those teachers and they were to work from their school or an alternative work site, like another school, for example. Two difference scenarios," Essary said Monday.
"ASD appreciates the efforts of all of our employees," Essary said.
Tuesday, Tom Klaaymeyer, president of the Anchorage Education Association, said the district should've been savvier with their PR approach.
"It was very terse and abrupt-- poor communication-- and frankly, it didn't explain things well. Had the district done better PR, maybe there would be less indignation about it," he said.
"The morale is really low in the district there are so many things going on this year, we're in the middle of displacement season, people are being displaced from their jobs because of the budget and people are on edge and this was an opportunity where the district could have made some gains with members and they chose a policy that kind of added salt to the wound."
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