The Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees approved changes to a popular teacher benefit following a monthslong process.
The district’s sick day buyback policy used to pay teachers half their daily rate at the end of each school year for unused sick days accrued over 50. The aim was to incentivize teachers to not use sick days unless absolutely necessary.
In a Wednesday evening meeting, the school board approved changing the buyback program to a tiered system that results in a “bonus for employee engagement.” Employees will now annually choose from three options for receiving money for unused sick days.
Those who choose Option 1 could see a bonus if they are in the top 25% of the group who use the fewest number of sick days. The school board will set the amount of the bonus at the end of the year, and unused sick days are rolled over to the next year. For the remaining 75% of employees in Option 1, unused sick days roll over to the next year.
Option 2 pays employees $100 at the end of each year for any unused sick days accrued over 60.
Option 3 pays employees half their daily rate for sick days accrued over 60, but the money will be placed in a retirement account.
Jim Rooks, who represents the Teton County Education Association, told the board he was satisfied with the changes to the program.
He also said teachers were grateful that the board hadn’t voted on the change last month, which it could have based on school board regulations.
“We think the incentive options are awesome and fair. Thank you for allowing us a month for our colleagues to digest that,” he told the board. “There are no new radical changes, and we appreciate you hitting the brakes.”
Pick up a copy of the Dec. 18 Jackson Hole News&Guide for more on the policy changes.