Knox County’s Employee Suspension Policy

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - Because of Kim Kallenburg's almost 11 months on paid leave, Volunteer TV’s Kim Bedford takes a look at how the procedure works and what parents have to say about it.

Many agree that everyone, including school administrators, is innocent until proven guilty.

But some parents say teachers shouldn't be getting paid if they're not working to help their children's education.

"We tend to air on the cautious side and put those individuals on administrative leave until that issue can be investigated and resolved,” Knox County School Spokesman, Russ Oaks, says they would never want to risk the school children's safety. "We don't want to have children in a position where they could be injured or caught up in something."

This school year, a combination of 46 teachers and non-certified employees were on and off paid leave, averaging about 24 and a half days off work.

"Three of those were for an extended period, so when you take those three employees out, it's really an average of about 16 and a half days.” Oaks says most of the cases are handled in six to ten days and the majority of administrators return back to school, but why are they paid if they're not working? "Many times we find that the allegation would be unfounded. If we have to put someone on leave without pay for that period of time, then we have, in fact, penalized them."

"I don't think it's right. I think it takes money away from the education for the children,” Helena Morales has a son and daughter at Mooreland Elementary School. "She's six and he's seven."

Morales says if an administrator's on leave, they should not be paid for it, "I think it should be made policy."

Other parents say it just depends.

"I think the policy depends upon the offence of the teacher. I think it should be an individual review,” says Penny Rickett.

They all agree, "We all want the best education for our children. Their futures depend on it,” says Amanda Diegelman.

Russ Oaks tells WVLT there are currently seven school administrators on leave, but after Wednesday, there will five off contract and two on contract.

As far as how much money the school system shelled out for adminstrators on leave, oaks says it will take them a couple of days to crunch all of those numbers for us.

We'll let you know how much money we're looking at as soon as those figures come in.


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