0

Teacher at odds with sick leave policy

Special Photo Hannah Rinehart and her husband of two years, Mark, a math teacher at South Gwinnett High School are seen here. Doctors believe Hannah contracted a rare infection from bacteria commonly found in dog saliva, which resulted in the amputation of her hands and feet.

Special Photo Hannah Rinehart and her husband of two years, Mark, a math teacher at South Gwinnett High School are seen here. Doctors believe Hannah contracted a rare infection from bacteria commonly found in dog saliva, which resulted in the amputation of her hands and feet.

SNELLVILLE — Sporting royal blue, supporters of the Rinehart Family plan to assemble at a board of education meeting Thursday night. It’s their way of showing support for a math teacher who is irked by the district’s decision to prohibit his fellow educators from donating sick leave to him during a family crisis.

Mark Rinehart’s wife, Hannah, was recently stricken with a bacterial infection that resulted in the quadruple amputation of her limbs.

Fellow teachers at South Gwinnett High School offered to help by donating their sick and vacation time to the Rineharts.

According to District Spokesperson Sloan Roach, however, doing so would be a possible breach of policy and unfair to others employed by GCPS.

“While we understand this is a catastrophic situation for this employee, this is not a simple change,” Roach said. “As a school district we have on average 550 people on leave at any given time. Currently, we have 131 people on leave who are not receiving pay because they have used all of their available sick leave.”

Added Roach: “In looking at this request, decisions must be made that are fair and sustainable for all 22,000 GCPS employees. That said, we will continue to do all we can do to work with Mr. Rinehart during this difficult time.”

Rinehart said his “personal stance” is that “these are friends of mine willing to donate their time directly to me, and I understand there are others in difficult positions, but as a husband I want to be able to help my wife get back on her feet.”

He said he’s working to support the family with one salary, “which is what I need to maintain.” He said that deductibles, insurance rates and other medical expenses continue to amass.

Hannah fell ill in late June after contracting a rare bacterial infection from dog saliva. By late July, the tissue in her hands and feet had deteriorated to the point that her extremities had to be amputated to save her life.

A patient care technician in DeKalb County, Hannah, 32, had successfully battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma for years, and had advocated for cancer research at Relay For Life events.

Rinehart said there are more than 30 who said they plan to show up in support of the family at 6 p.m. during Thursday’s board of education meeting. Their choice of clothing color—royal blue—is a nod to Hannah’s favorite hue.

Visit Hannah’s website at either www.hannahrinehart.com or www.hannahrinehart.org.

Comments

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Is the question that this individual didn't sign up for the sick bank donation exchange prior to this incident or as a participant in that program that he has already exhausted those additional program available hours?

0

FactChecker 2 years, 4 months ago

Prior to implementation of the current sick bank policy, this has been allowed in the past for people in administrative positions. I could not find whether or not such a policy had been allowed for teaching staff but would assume that it had. The question of extending this policy under the current situation apparently stems from the exact wording of the sick bank policy. I would think that the Board of Education could pass some emergency policy change without creating an administrative nightmare.

0

NewsReader 2 years, 4 months ago

And yet this is one of so many examples of a government institution of ineptness. It kinda reminds me of the Florida Life Guard who crossed some invisible assumed boundary to save the life of another human being only to be fired for doing so. These same people are the same people whose rules apply equally to everyone else except them. But when it really makes sense to make some adjustments or exceptions to the rule, reason and rationale are thrown out the window. This, like so many decisions of this government bureaucracy defies common sense. I wonder if the Mill Creek Cluster teachers whose child had to have a heart transplant were allowed paid leave. My message to you Mr. Mark Rinehart is to do what you have to do, and don't worry about what these people have to say or do. The good people in this community have enough compassion, that I'm reasonably certain you won't have to worry about getting things done or having your bills paid.

0

news2me 2 years, 4 months ago

I believe I saw where this is a state level policy. Does GA not allow this for any of it's government employees, or is just for educators?

1

ssilover1 2 years, 4 months ago

gcps has a good sick leave bank. Wonder what happened here? He may have used up his already. That is weird since she got sick ths summer. And to NewsReader, your wide paint brush is off the llnes. I do agree with the good people taking care of the bills.

0

NewsReader 2 years, 4 months ago

My paint brush is exactly where it needs to be. I don't need, let alone care for, your approval or endorsement.

0

ssilover1 2 years, 4 months ago

Good. You don't get my approval or endoresement. Hit a nerve????

0

JohnGalt 2 years, 4 months ago

Seriously dude, what is your malfunction? He doesn't need your approval or your endorsement. You are pretty arrogant considering the company you are in.

0

BuzzG 2 years, 4 months ago

I have never heard of the "sick bank" thing. It sounds to me that it is ripe for abuse of the taxpayer. Being retired after 40 years in the corporate world, I never heard of a "sick bank". If you stayed healthy, you did not have the right to donate your sick time to another employee of your choice.
My heart goes out to the Rinehart family, but I remain skeptical of the "sick bank."

0

TartuffeSlayer 2 years, 4 months ago

Extremely common, even in the corporate world. How is this taxpayer abuse? Go online and do a little research before posting inane comments.

0

kevin 2 years, 4 months ago

if it isn't allowed, it isn't allowed. The teacher knows this at the time of signing their contract. Why is this making headlines? It should have been discussed at a Board meeting, not in the GDP. I don't have mercy for the teachers on this issue. They know what they signed and are now crying foul over their stupidity.

0

TartuffeSlayer 2 years, 4 months ago

It is in the paper because it is called "news". Look up the word compassion. Mercy is not even in this equation. GCPS could have dealt with this and this would not be a discussion. If this is the best you can do, keep your misanthropic comments to yourself. Remember this if you ever need help during a catastrophic event. Fool.

0

ssilover1 2 years, 4 months ago

Didn't GCPS deal with it? Sounds like the results were not what a teacher wanted. Don't get me wrong. I am so compassionate for this guy and his wife. But I also understand the dilema.

0

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Well its news based on the result of the young woman from Snellville ...

So will the same crew put it together again?

It can be made to happen without changing the rules but creating new ones in charity. Gwinnett County is a BIG place why even donating half what the county schools pay the chamber a year would make one heck of a dent...

How about it Gwinnett CHAMBER IT'S time to step up to the plate.

0

Gwinnettsince1991 2 years, 4 months ago

It would be nice, and really refreshing if we, in the words of Abraham Lincoln aspired to the, "Better angels of our nature" instead of what is written in a policy. We should try to be a people of compassion and mercy, not of control. Its time to do the right thing.

0

R 2 years, 4 months ago

How about Gwinnett Chamber???

Please donate HALF of what was spent on TSPLOST support and the GCPS "invoice" what say you?

1

R 2 years, 4 months ago

Gwinnett Chamber clean up requested on aisle 9

Come on folks, we KNOW you see these comments so STEP UP to the plate.

Give this couple some funds SPLIT what GWINNETT gave YOU...

Your nembership won't even MISS it.

2

Mack711 2 years, 4 months ago

First of all just how foolish is it for the BOE to give our tax dollars to the Chamber? Not split these fund but to return the funds that we need so despetately to fund education. This couple needs the funds more than the Waste of Funds Chamber courting business.

1

maangier 2 years, 4 months ago

What about the family leave act?

0

maangier 2 years, 4 months ago

I have been living with a life changing disease myself. I have spent many days in the hospital by myself because my husband had to work. I would have loved for him to spend more time with me, but that's not possible. He has to work. Stuff like this happens everyday to people. I don't understand why he needs to be off from work. Like everyone else, we make the best out of my situation. Maybe I'm just jaded.

0

SabrinaWorks247 2 years, 4 months ago

A 2010 article in the AJC detailed the unusual sick leave policy that Gwinnett’s school board created for Superintendent Wilbanks because he is hard-working: “That includes payments twice a year for unused leave time, a perk that's unusual among superintendents in metro Atlanta and unavailable to most teachers, at least until they retire. In July, Wilbanks was paid for being healthy. He received $176.15 an hour for about a dozen unused sick days, adding up to $18,143. This month, he is eligible for another $28,360 payout for 20 unused vacation days. In addition, he received a retirement supplement of $42,000, a reimbursement for his contribution to his own retirement plan of $17,077 and a monthly expense allowance of $2,700 to cover transportation and business costs. And when his two-year contract was re-negotiated in 2009, the board agreed to allow Wilbanks to spend 10 days each year telecommuting. "I've never seen a more hard-working individual in charge of 22,500 employees," said Mary Kay Murphy, school board chair. "It is something that he requested and it seemed reasonable."

0

JohnCook 2 years, 4 months ago

Have you noticed the arrogance of the School Board? THEY passed rules requiring that before you can speak to them in their "public" board meetings, you must contact them, request a form, submit the completed form by 5 PM on Monday prior to the Thursday meeting. It seems that they have forgotten that government is "of [We The People], by the people, and for the people." The "by the people" part means "government is the car and we are the driver." It is sad that they have forgotten this important part of our heritage.

We bought that microphone and we allow them to use it. Instead, they restrict our right to use it. They have no right to restrict our freedom of speech in this manner. They are not our "rulers;" they are our representatives.

It is time for us to start replacing them until they grasp this important aspect of government.

0

Sign in to comment