Portantino’s Support for Teachers | New Bill Secures Financial Stability

Senator Portantino Introduces Bill Shielding School District Employees From Financial Harm During Natural Disasters

State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, whose 25th District represents South Pasadena, has introduced SB 805, which prevents school employees from having to use their sick, vacation, or other paid leave in the event there is a natural disaster and the employee faces evacuation threats within the home or school.

“School employees should not be forced to use their earned time off when faced with a natural disaster, the State declares a natural disaster, or if the employee has to evacuate their home,” said Portantino. “It just feels wrong and I was grateful for the suggestion from Superintendent Hill of Burbank to fix the situation.”

In addition, SB 805 also clarifies state law to protect school districts from losing average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding due to disasters.

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The idea for SB 805 was brought to Senator Portantino by Burbank Superintendent Matt Hill.  Burbank has faced the threat of wildfires and evacuations. Additionally, many of its employees also live in areas that have seen threats to property and have had to evacuate.

Diana Abasta, president of the Burbank Teachers Association, commented, “Our members reached out and told us about the degree of hardship created when there is a natural disaster, and through no fault of theirs, are unable to come to work. The only way they can be compensated is by having to use their own earned time which can impact them later if they become ill or have an accident and have no more earned time to use. We brought this issue forward to Supt. Hill and are very happy to see that Senator Portantino has responded with an effective proposal in the form of a bill.” 

Under current law, no protections for school district employees are in place for when a natural disaster occurs. It is required for them to use their own personal earned time off to make up for those hours lost in a natural disaster. Establishing SB 805 will place protections on our school employees earned sick, vacation, and paid time off and ensure school districts earn their Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding when California declares a natural disaster.

“It just didn’t seem fair that our district and other district employees have to use their earned time when the circumstance was out of their control. I want to thank Ms. Abasta, for advocating for this change for her members.  I asked Senator Portantino to create a proper solution to the problem and I’m grateful that he responded to our request.  I’ll be asking the school board over the next month to formally adopt a support position for SB 805,” added Matt Hill, Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District.