Substitutes Left Out Of Teacher’s Compensation Seek Support

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Burbank Unified School District office. (Photo By Ross Benson)

Burbank substitute teachers have started a petition, to date it has 1,377 signatures, to bring awareness and support for their efforts to convince the Burbank Unified School District [BUSD] to continue compensating them during the  COVID-19 Burbank school shutdown.

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The BUSD board voted March 16 to close all Burbank schools and continue classes on-line due to fear of the COVID-19 virus infecting school children. An order from Governor Newsom declared that school employees would be paid during the closure; however, substitute teachers were not included in the governor’s order. Substitutes have written Governor Newsom asking him to earmark funds for the district to pay substitute teachers during the shutdown.

Furloughed employees who will continue to be compensated by the district include contractual workers, hourly and salaried employees. The school district has made exceptions for long term substitute teachers of record to continue teaching their classes online. Day to day substitutes will be trained for on-line instruction, so they may substitute when a teacher requires a day off.

In an email to the substitute teachers, BUSD Board President Armond Aghakhanian explained substitutes could not be paid out of the district budget due to the failure of Measure I. The parcel tax to raise revenue for the district’s budget was defeated in March. School Superintendent Matt Hill said the district is in a deficit, has no reserves and the state may be cutting next year’s budget.

The state advised the district to save their money; therefore, the subs will not be compensated from this year’s remaining substitute budget. Hill advised the teachers to apply for unemployment insurance [UI]. Substitute teachers normally do not qualify for unemployment, but under the new EDD Coronavirus  rules, workers no longer employed due to their employer shutting down because of the virus, qualify for unemployment compensation. Additionally, the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance [PUA], which is part of the federal Coronavirus economic relief CARES Act will add an extra $600 to qualifying UI claims.

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Hill said substitutes lack of compensation during the school closings is a statewide issue.

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