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Gov. Martinez vetoes bill to protect teachers sick time and leave

Brittany Costello
March 09, 2017 10:29 PM

A call to override Governor Susana Martinez's veto of a sick leave bill for teachers comes from her own party.

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House Bill 241 would increase how much sick leave teachers can take before it affects their performance evaluations.

The governor said the change would increase substitute teacher costs, and lower the quality of education.

Thursday, Republican State Senator Craig Bandt, of Rio Rancho, called the veto inexcusable. 

Brandt wasn't the only one outraged over the Governor's veto; some people are even calling that move inhumane.

It's bound to happen. One day you wake up with chills, a fever, even the flu. But what if you were told if you didn't come to work, you would be penalized?

That's what's happening to teachers around our state. If you have more than three sick days, you'll be docked on your evaluation

The fear is that teachers will put an evaluation before their health. That means they are forced come to school while they're sick, putting other teachers even students at risk.

“The current policy on sick days is inhumane,” said Stephanie Ly, President of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico. “The fact is, is that our teachers work many days and if they are sick they should be able to use them.”

Ly said educators are forced to come to work sick, putting others at risk. House Bill 241  was going to change that. It would allow teachers to use their allotted 10 days without being penalized.

But despite its passage through the House and Senate, Governor Martinez vetoed it.

“This veto is clearly saying what we've been saying for four years that this governor has zero respect for teachers,” said Ly.

According to that veto, Governor Martinez said with the current policy, the number of teachers missing 10 or more days has decreased 47-percent in recent years.

She said that saved more than $3 million in one school year alone. It goes on to read that after ten absences a teacher's effectiveness goes down the drain.

“It’s not fair to our teachers and it's not fair to our kids. Our kids have to be taught by teachers that are sick and it gets them sick,” said Senator Craig Brandt, one of the sponsors of the bill.

Even with the veto, Senator Brandt said he's not ready to throw in the towel. Brandt said he will call for an override of this veto Friday.

It will take a two-thirds majority from both the House and Senate. If that happens, this bill could still become law.

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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