Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Madison teachers may stage a “sickout” Wednesday


After today’s action by Madison East High School teachers to drag their students to the protest at the Capitol, it shouldn’t be surprising that Madison teachers will use kids as a weapon to try to stop Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget repair bill. The Madison School District is making contingency plans to deal with a possible “sickout” by the teachers tomorrow, and possibly for the rest of the week.

Superintendent Dan Nerad described the situation as “fluid” and that district staff were evaluating how many staff were calling in sick through an automated reporting system. He said he didn’t know if school would be closed Wednesday.

“At this point in time I can’t forecast other than our goal is to have schools open (Wednesday),” Nerad said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Stacy Billings, a parent of students at Sennett Middle School and LaFollette High School, said the district’s letter upset her. She said she supports the teachers union, but opposed a teacher protest during school hours.
“That’s not acceptable to me,” Billings said. “My tax dollars pay for the teachers to teach and not to protest.”

Nerad said teachers have been told that if they take a sick day Wednesday they will be asked to show proof of an illness. He wouldn’t elaborate on what kind of sanctions would be imposed. Teachers aren’t able to take a personal day unless they give three days notice, Nerad said.

Update! The always informative Steve Presetegard reminds us in an e-mail, “A sickout preceded, by about a month, the 1976 Madison teachers’ strike.”

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