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Mineral County tackles teacher substitute costs

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education says unpaid absences, or “dock” days, taken by a growing number of teachers are keeping students from receiving the education they deserve and costing the county thousands of dollars.

They have therefore revised the county’s policy for leaves of absence and that policy is now out for review by county employees who have until 4 p.m. Monday, July 28, to comment on the proposed changes.

During a recent board of education meeting, personnel director Susan Grady noted that more and more teachers are taking unpaid days off, in addition to the paid leave they receive as a benefit. The practice is forcing the county to pay substitute teachers to cover the classrooms, and costing the county in the triple digits.

“One pay period, we had 20 people taking ‘dock’ days,” Grady said. “That’s a lot of people nickel and diming us.”

Associate superintendent/treasurer Steve Peer agreed that the “dock” days are getting out of hand, noting that “we had a number of employees who missed 40, 50 or 60 days” in a year’s time.

Peer added, “the state provides us with $450,000 for substitutes, but we spend right around $1 million…

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