SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAVE
SABBATICAL LEAVE FOR HEALTH
The Board of School Directors recognizes the entitlement to sabbatical leaves for restoration of health and leaves of absence for professional development by professional employees or members of the supervisory or administrative staff, as provided in Sections 1166 through 1171 of the Public School Code of 1949, as amended through the effective date hereof.
The Board of School Directors by adoption of this Policy is providing regulations to ensure that employees on sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave utilize such leave properly for the purpose it was granted. This Policy is not intended and shall not be construed to provide any separate or independent entitlement to sabbatical leaves for health or professional development leave beyond that which is currently provided by the Public School Code or that which may be provided in the future by way of amendments to the Public School Code.
To be eligible for sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave consideration, an administrative/professional employee of the school district must have completed at least ten years of satisfactory public school service in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, five of which were served consecutively in the Susquehanna Township School District. Thereafter, one leave of absence shall be allowed after each seven years of satisfactory service.
A sabbatical leave for restoration of health or leave of absence for professional development shall be for a half or full school term, or for two half school terms during a period of two years.
An application for sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave, which includes the required documentation, shall be made to the Superintendent by April 1 for the following school year and October 1 for the following semester. (Exceptions to the prior application requirement will be made for sabbatical leave for health requests.)
Approved by the School Board – March 24, 1997
Each application for sabbatical leave or professional development leave shall be reviewed by the Superintendent and acted upon by the Board of School Directors within two (2) months after the applicable deadline for submitting the application for leave. Sabbatical leave for health and professional development leave request forms may be obtained from the office of the Superintendent, and shall be in the form attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”
The total number of professional employees on sabbatical leave for health and professional development leave at any one time shall not exceed ten percent of the professional staff eligible for such leave on May 31 of the year applications are received.
Priority in selection, if necessary, shall be determined on the basis of length of service in the district and other extenuating circumstances, such as requests for sabbatical leave for health. (If an individual has taken a sabbatical leave or professional development leave previously, the length of service will apply only to the years served since that sabbatical or leave of absence for professional development.)
D. Commitment of Employee
A sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave may be taken for the period approved. Compensable full-time employment may not be engaged in while the employee is on sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave. Compensable part-time employment shall be permitted if the employee as part of his/her application establishes that he/she previously has engaged in similar part-time employment. (These limitations shall not preclude employment, whether full-time or part-time, for employees on sabbatical leave for health if the employee’s physician prescribes employment.) Compensable graduate school related employment, including but not limited to graduate student assistantships, teaching assistantships and fellowships, are permitted. Acceptance of sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave incurs a commitment by the employee to return to active service in the Susquehanna Township School District immediately following said leave of absence for at least one full school year. If the employee fails to return to service, unless prevented by illness or physical disability, the employee shall forfeit all benefits and compensation for the period of the leave.
E. Commitment of Employer
Time on sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave shall be counted as time on the job as provided by the Public School Code.
During the period of sabbatical leave for health or professional development leave, an employee shall be compensated at the minimum amount specified by provisions of the Public School Code in effect at the time the sabbatical leave commences. While on leave, the employee shall also be entitled to insurance benefits provided other professional employees.
G. Sabbatical Leave for Restoration of Health
Applicants for sabbatical leave for restoration of health shall submit with the application form an official supporting medical statement and recommendation from his/her physician.
At both the approximate midpoint of the leave and at least thirty (30) days prior to the conclusion of the leave, a physician’s statement shall be submitted to the Superintendent, indicating the extent to which the purpose of the leave has been achieved and evaluating the health status of the employee relative to his/her ability to return to employment.
The Board reserves the right to require at its own expense reasonable additional examinations and reports by physicians of its choice to determine the validity of the leave request.
H. Leave of Absence for Professional Development
A leave of absence for professional development shall be granted only to employees participating in an academic program from an accredited institution for: (1) the purpose of retaining a professional certificate or commission; (2) further preparation and improvement in his/her area(s) of certification; (3) additional certification; (4) attaining other appropriate and identifiable educational positions within the school district; or (5) improving professional competency. Approval of applications for professional development leave shall not be unreasonably withheld.
The minimum requirements for leave for a half school term shall consist of any of the following or a combination thereof; nine (9) graduate credits, twelve (12) undergraduate credits, one hundred eighty (180) hours of professional development activities. The minimum requirements for leave for a full school term shall consist of the following or a combination thereof: eighteen (18) graduate credits, twenty-four (24) undergraduate credits, three hundred sixty (360) hours of professional development activities.
Requests for professional development leave shall be submitted to the Superintendent on the approved form together with a detailed plan.
Applicants who propose to take graduate or undergraduate credits shall submit notification of acceptance and enrollment form an accredited institution of higher learning for study in courses approved by the Superintendent. The employee shall successfully complete the approved courses and receive passing grades. Upon return from professional development leave, the employee shall submit to the Superintendent within the first month an official transcript of all courses completed. Failure to receive passing grades or to submit required transcripts on time shall result in forfeiture of all benefits and compensation for the period of the leave.
Applicants who propose to undertake professional development activities without receiving credits shall submit to the Board a detailed plan listing the specific activities and, if approved, shall submit monthly status reports to the Superintendent substantiating compliance with the approved plan. Upon return from professional development leave, the employee shall submit to the Superintendent within the within the first month a formal report describing the educational activities pursued and their benefits and relevancy. If the employee does not submit the report by the end of the month, a written remainder will be delivered to the employee. If the report is not submitted within ten (10) days after the date of the reminder, the employee shall forfeit all benefits and compensation for the period of the leave.