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CHTU Update - 9.7.16 Heat, Pay, and Personal Leave

Dear Colleagues,
For those of you who are cooking in your classrooms I am hoping there is some relief in sight, but I have as much influence on the weather as you.  When we brought up concerns around heat in buildings during negotiations we were told that it was not a problem.  We wanted to define heat index days in the contract for the situation we find ourselves in this week.  We do not have a solution.  Perhaps invite some central administrators to your room for an exciting lesson during the heat?  A board member might enjoy sitting through a 90 degree lesson.  The problem is not going to get solved anytime soon.

In the meantime, I applaud your efforts at trying to engage students (sometimes lots and lots of students) when what you most want to do is either fall asleep, scream at someone or complain about a colleague's supposed good deal.  Heat gets to people, but I implore you to try to hold yourselves together, support each other, and do the best you can.  When the challenges are the most difficult is when you see people's true nature.  Hopefully we can rise above and be our best when things are the worst.

Pay issues - more than 100 members got a check on Tuesday fixing about half of the mistakes from last week's payroll.  We suggest everyone look to see if you are on the right step and lane. Please notify us of placement issues.  Personal days were not yet advanced for this school year, so we know those balances are incorrect.  Check that city tax is being taken out for the city you are working in - that is a tough problem to fix later.

Elementary - We have asked administration to investigate how they can have the district level TBTs they want while still maintaining your planning time.

Personal Leave - I have pasted a new personal leave FAQ below as procedures for approval around a vacation period have changed.  Please read.

In Union,
Ari Klein
CHTU President


Personal Leave:

Personal leave is earned under our contract and should be used for events and situations that are emergencies or cannot be rescheduled.  No approval is required for you to use personal leave except when it is taken around a school vacation period (before and after Labor Day, Rosh  Hashana, the first day of work, etc).  You “request” personal leave by putting it into Aesop so the district can find a sub if you need one.  Whenever feasible, you should put in for personal leave at least one week in advance.

Personal leave can be declined in two situations.  First, you ask for permission when you don’t need it for a frivolous reason.  For instance, you let your principal know that you are going to be absent because you plan on going to the movies or that you would rather not be at school during a waiver day because it does not apply to you or a hundred other reasons that do not fit the basic definition.  Because you asked or let your supervisor know, you will probably get docked pay for your absence.

The second reason is that administration has the authority to bar your use of a personal day around a holiday or vacation period if they do not believe the reason is valid.  The language in our contract is:

Requests for personal leave on the day immediately preceding or following a school vacation period will not be approved, except under very unusual circumstances.

Administration believes that it knows what “unusual circumstances” are and they plan to start looking more closely at this usage.  We believe that as long as a member knows the criteria, the member is the best judge of whether it is an appropriate use of personal leave.  For the last 40 years or so, we have been getting signatures on letters from members to give to administration to get approval for these days.

We are trying out a new procedure using email for this approval process, but we believe members have to be very careful about what they disclose.  Here are some examples of possible reasons you might put in an email asking approval for a personal day by a holiday.

Example 1:  I have to take my child to college on that day.

Example 2:  I have a wedding to attend out of town.

Example 3:  I have a legal matter to attend to on that day

Example 4:  I would like to attend the funeral of a non-relative.

Example 5:  I would like to attend my child’s school event.

Example 6:  My water pipes burst and are flooding the house.  (Don't send this one ahead of time)

Example 7:  That day is a religious holy day for me.

Here are some bad examples that will be questioned or not approved:

Bad Example 1: I would like to take the day off because the flights are cheaper that day.

Bad Example 2:  I need to attend a concert that is out of town.

Bad Example 3:  My family rented the chalet for our ski trip before the winter break starts

Procedure for getting permission for taking a personal leave before/after a school holiday.

Write a simple explanation and email it to the Human Resources Director at least one week (whenever possible) before the expected absence date. We recommend that you send the email to the CHTU president or vice president to look over before sending to the HR Director.  You will need to put the absence into Aesop.  This is a change in procedure, but should make it easier to process.  A sample letter would look like:

            I am requesting personal leave for Dec 20, the day before winter break. I am attending a wedding and need to travel out of town.

Thank you for your consideration,


It would be great if you did not have to use personal leave, but sometimes being out of school is unavoidable.  Personal leave should be saved for those occasions.

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