Monday, April 16, 2007

What is reasonable?

So, what does it take in order to fire a schoolteacher these days?

It certainly appears that once you have a job as a teacher, here in Wisconsin, that it is impossible to get fired.

According to the timeline posted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it was three years from the time that the schoolteacher became very ill to the time they were official removed from the payrolls.

September 2002: Diane Wagner, a Spanish teacher with the Richfield School District since 1990, becomes ill with viral meningitis and viral encephalitis.

June 2004: Craig Baker takes over as the School District's administrator.December 2004: Wagner, who had not returned to her teaching job, returns to her part-time job as a bartender at Michael's House of Prime near Pewaukee.

April 1, 2005: Baker, having learned that Wagner was working at Michael's, goes to the restaurant and finds Wagner serving drinks, carrying trays and using the cash register. Baker had never met Wagner and did not identify himself to her.

April 29, 2005: Baker again visits Michael's and sees Wagner tending bar.

Aug. 25, 2005: Baker tells Wagner in a letter he no longer considers her a School District employee and discloses that he knew she was bartending at Michael's. The next day, Wagner files a grievance.

Aug. 8, 2006: Baker goes on medical leave. Three months later, the School Board determines he cannot perform the duties of his job and terminates his contract.

Dec. 19, 2006: A state arbitrator orders the district to reinstate Wagner and give her back pay.

No doubt about it, Diane Wagner, the schoolteacher was awful sick. Viral meningitis is nothing to mess with and the recovery takes a while.

Diane Wagner was so sick that she could not work at all for at least two years. That is understandable. However, she managed to go back to work at the bar.

All of this is perfectly fine.

Yes- people get sick and, no, they should not lose their jobs because of it.

What is not fine is that fact that the taxpayers are once again hoofing the bill because after the teacher filed a grievance the arbitrator has demanded the teacher be given back pay.

Is it reasonable to ask the taxpayers to pay for a schoolteacher that managed to go back to her part time job at a bar, but was still too sick to go back to teaching?

What portion of the time off with the taxpayers be forced to pay this teacher for?

What are taxpayers reasonable allowed to expect out of their schoolteachers?

What is the line between being reasonable and flat out ripping the taxpayers off?


jeff said...

Could part of the problem in this case be that the District Administrator didnt follow the proper procedure for removal of Ms. Wagner as a teacher? While they are always the most pretty or simple procedures, they are the best way to do things--follow the rules for removal and maybe the problems encountered would have been avoided

jeff said...

Here is the latest on this story. She got her job back and $42K besides.