Campbell County schools set new policy on deceased teacher benefits

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WVLT) A Campbell County man went to the school board Tuesday night, saying he should be paid the benefits promised his deceased wife.

Suzanne Sharp lost her battle with cancer in the fall of 2013, teaching at Jacksboro Elementary until nearly her last day.

"My wife taught for over 26 years," Michael Sharp explained. "She never took a day off."

When Suzanne passed away, she still had 66 unused sick days that she was owed. Campbell County school policy stipulates that a retired teacher should be paid a certain amount a day, based on experience, for any unused sick day. There was no policy for what happens when a teacher passes away.

Sharp's widow,Michael, was being paid $75.00 a day from the school system, but had Suzanne retired, she would have been paid $233.00 a day.

Sharp argued he should be compensated his wife's full benefit of $233.00 for each of the 66 unused sick day, a total of more than $15,000.

At Tuesday evening's board meeting, a new policy was set to pay teacher's widows up to a $10,000 sum.

"This will at least do something, as far as recognizing what they're contribution has been to the system," Superintendent Poston said about the decision.

Poston said the $10,000 cap was decided upon to keep the school budget from running dry in case there happened to be a year where several teachers pass away.

Sharp said he is happy with the new policy, but feels he should still receive the full amount his wife was owed so other teachers would know they're families will be taken care of.

"That's what I want out of this. That they'll have a policy set for teachers where they can know they're going to be compensated, without having to take days off," Sharp said.

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