Kansas teachers who quit because they don’t feel safe returning to teaching in-person classes might have to pay their school districts for backing out of their contracts.
Usually districts ask for around $2,000, depending on how late a teacher leaves.
Emporia Public Schools is asking for $5,000 if a teacher resigns after August.
The Syracuse school district near the Colorado border asks for $10,000.
Penalties for quitting or resigning are meant to help districts find replacement teachers, but schools must prove that their penalty fee is actually based on the cost of replacing that teacher.
Educators say heading back to school seemed a lot safer before the resignation deadlines a few months ago, KMUW reported.
Some educators say it’s unfair to charge teachers for escaping their contracts if the situation has changed and they no longer feel safe returning to the classroom.
Courts could enforce the buyout clauses, or decide the contracts are no longer binding.
Alternatively, the pandemic might be found to justify the replacement costs because it makes it much harder and expensive to find someone willing to teach in a school building.