Title 17. Education
Chapter 1. General School Law
Part I-a. Special Schools
Subpart D. Sabbatical Leave for Teachers in Special Schools
17:46 Sabbatical leave program
A. (1)(a) Members of the fully certified, tenured teaching staff of the special schools shall be eligible for sabbatical leaves for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement or medical leave for the two semesters immediately following any twelve or more consecutive semesters of active service where the teacher is employed, or for the one semester immediately following any six or more consecutive semesters of service.
(b) As used in this Subpart, the words “teacher” or “teaching staff” shall include any social worker, school counselor, school nurse, audiologist, educational diagnostician, speech-language pathologist, or school psychologist employed by a special school who holds the appropriate valid professional ancillary certificate issued by the state Department of Education and who has served in the Special School District for the number of years required for probationary teachers to attain tenure. For a school nurse, a professional ancillary certificate means a Type A, Type B, or Type C certificate.
(c) For purposes of this Subpart, Louisiana Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired and Special School Programs are considered separate schools.
(2) Absence on sick leave under Subpart E of this Part, on maternity leave of absence, as provided for under Subpart F of this Part, for the period of disability occasioned by pregnancy and the birth of a child as determined by a certificate from the employee’s attending physician, or adoptive leave as provided in Subpart F of this Part, shall not be deemed to interrupt the active service as provided in this Section; nor shall absence on involuntary military service in the armed forces of the United States, nor on military leave under Subpart G of this Part be deemed to interrupt the active service as provided in this Section.
B. Applications for sabbatical leave shall be made on a form to be provided by the superintendent of the Special School District. Applications shall be sent to the superintendent of the Special School District by registered or certified mail at least sixty days preceding the beginning of the semester of the school year for which leave is requested, except that, where a teacher has become sick during a semester and requests medical leave for the purpose of recuperating from such sickness, it shall be sufficient if the application is mailed thirty days before the date upon which the requested leave is to commence.
C. (1) Whenever, in accordance with the provisions of this Section, some of the applications cannot be granted, from among those which would otherwise be granted, those to be granted, except as hereinafter specified, shall be determined in the following manner:
(a) Preference in every case shall be given to the applicant who has rendered active service in the special school for the greatest number of consecutive semesters immediately preceding the period for which leave is requested, provided that when any two applicants rank equally in point of continuous service, preference in every case shall be given to the applicant who has rendered service in the special school for the greater total number of semesters.
(b) When any two applicants rank equally both in point of continuous service and in point of total service, preference in every case shall be given to the applicant whose date of birth is earlier.
(c) Applicants whose applications are filed in the first thirty days of the semester shall be given preference over those who seek sabbatical leave under the special provisions relating to sickness during a school semester.
(2) Whenever, in accordance with the method of selection outlined in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the quota established for medical leave has been filled, all remaining applications shall be rejected and shall be disregarded in any further selection of applicants for that semester. Those whose applications are rejected have the right to apply in any future semester.
D. Every applicant shall be notified by the superintendent of the Special School District in writing within sixty days after the final day for the filing of the application whether the application has been granted or rejected; where the application is for medical leave from sickness the superintendent shall notify the applicant within thirty days from the date of the filing of the application whether the application has been granted or rejected or if further medical examination, as permitted by this Section, is required. If the application has been rejected, the reasons for such rejection shall be specified.
E. (1) No person whose application for sabbatical leave has been granted shall be denied such leave except as otherwise provided in this Section.
(2) Every application shall specify all of the following:
(a) The period for which leave is requested.
(b) Whether leave is requested for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement, or for the purpose of medical leave.
(c) The precise manner, insofar as possible, in which such leave, if granted, will be spent.
(d) The semesters spent in active service in the special school from which leave is requested.
(e) The date of birth of applicant.
(3) The application shall contain a statement, over the signature of the applicant, that he agrees to comply with the provisions of this Subpart.
(4)(a) Every application for medical leave shall be accompanied by a statement from a licensed physician certifying that the leave is medically necessary.
(b)(i) If the superintendent, upon review of the application, questions the validity or accuracy of the certification, he may require the applicant, as a condition for continued consideration of the application, to be examined by a licensed physician selected by the superintendent. In such a case, the special school employing the applicant shall pay all costs of the examination and any tests determined to be necessary. If the physician selected by the superintendent finds medical necessity, the leave application shall be granted.
(ii) If the physician selected by the superintendent disagrees with the certification of the physician selected by the applicant, then the special school employing the applicant may require the applicant, as a condition for continued consideration of the application, to be examined by a third licensed appropriate physician whose name appears next in the rotation of physicians on a list established by the local medical society for such purpose. All costs of an examination and any required tests by a third doctor shall be paid by the special school employing the applicant. The opinion of the third physician shall be determinative of the issue.
(c) The opinion of all physicians consulted as provided in this Paragraph shall be submitted to the superintendent in the form of a sworn statement, as referenced in R.S. 14:125.
(d) All information contained in any statement from a physician shall be confidential and shall not be subject to the public records law.
F. Any applicant who, at the expiration of the semester in which he applies, is ineligible for the sabbatical leave requested or who has not complied with the provisions of Subsections A through D of this Section, shall have his application rejected, but all other applicants may have their applications granted, provided that all leaves requested in such applications could be taken without violating the following provision: At no time during the school year shall the number of persons on sabbatical leave exceed ten percent of the total number of teachers employed in the special school.
G. (1)(a) Every person on medical leave is prohibited from undertaking any gainful employment during such leave unless all of the following conditions are met:
(i) The teacher can demonstrate that he will be working not more than twenty hours a week in a part-time job that he has been working for not less than one hundred twenty days prior to the beginning of such leave.
(ii) The doctor who certifies the medical necessity of the leave indicates that such part-time work does not impair the purpose for which the leave is granted.
(iii) The superintendent of the Special School District authorizes such part-time work.
(b) Violation of the prohibition in this Subsection shall result in the medical leave being rescinded.
(2) Every person on sabbatical leave for the purpose of professional or cultural improvement shall pursue a program of study during each semester of leave and shall earn at least nine undergraduate credit hours that directly improve the person’s skills and knowledge as a teacher or six graduate credit hours or shall be a certified full-time student at a postsecondary education institution accredited by the board of education of the state or territory in which such institution is located. If less than fifteen weeks is so spent, the number of weeks less than fifteen not so spent shall be spent pursuing a program of independent study, research, authorship, or investigation which involves an approximately equivalent amount of work and which is approved by the employing special school or engaging in travel which is planned as to be of definite educational value and which is approved by the employing special school.
(3) Each person on sabbatical leave, as a condition of the leave, shall be prohibited from being employed during his leave by any public or private elementary or secondary school in Louisiana or in any other state.
H. Every person on sabbatical leave shall transmit to the superintendent within thirty days after the beginning of each semester of leave a written report of approximately one hundred words, of the manner in which such leave will be spent, and within thirty days after the end of such leave, a written report of approximately two hundred and fifty words, of the manner in which such leave has been spent. In case such person has elected to spend any semester in accordance with provisions of Subparagraph G(2)(a) of this Section, the initial report shall indicate the institution being attended and the number of credit hours being taken, and the final report shall be accompanied by official evidence that the number of credit hours required has been taken at the institution specified.
I. Any person who fails to comply with the provisions of Subsections G and H of this Section may have his leave terminated by the superintendent of the Special School District at any time, except where noncompliance is due to conditions which would have constituted sufficient grounds for failing to perform his duties had he been in active service.
J. No person on sabbatical leave shall be denied the regular increment of increase in salary because of absence on sabbatical leave.
K. Service on sabbatical leave shall count as active service for the purpose of retirement and contributions to the retirement fund shall be continued.
L. Every person on sabbatical leave shall be returned at the beginning of the semester immediately following such leave to the same position at the same special school from which such leave was taken, unless otherwise agreed to by him.
M. Every person on sabbatical leave shall enjoy all the rights and privileges pertaining to his position and employment which he would have enjoyed had he not taken his leave but remained in active service in the schools in which he is employed.
N. (1) Each person granted sabbatical leave shall receive and be paid compensation at the rate of sixty-five percent of the person’s salary at the time the leave begins.
(2) The superintendent of the Special School District may grant such additional leave or compensation as he may establish and fix in the best interest of the special school.
O. Compensation payable to persons on sabbatical leave shall be paid at the times at which salaries of the other members of the teaching staff are paid, and in the same manner.
P. The superintendent of the Special School District may grant leaves of absence, without pay, for periods not exceeding one year, to any regularly employed teacher or other employee, who requests such leave in writing, whenever in the discretion of the superintendent such leave is in the best interests of the special school. The granting of such leaves shall not affect any tenure rights which the applicant may have acquired prior thereto.
Q. Each person granted sabbatical leave shall sign an agreement or contract with the superintendent of the Special School District stipulating that, as a condition of his sabbatical leave and in order to be eligible for compensation during such leave, he will return to service for one semester for each semester of leave following the expiration of his leave in the special school granting the leave. Should a person taking sabbatical leave fail to return to service in the special school granting leave for one semester for each semester of leave following the expiration of such leave for any reason other than incapacitating illness as certified by two physicians, that person shall forfeit all compensation received during the leave period, provided however, the superintendent may waive the provisions of this Section in accordance with the prepublished criteria if he deems to be in the best interest of the special school to do so. No such waiver shall favor or discriminate against any employee or applicant because of his job description, age, race, or sex.
R. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, all decisions relative to the granting of leave pursuant to this Section shall be made by the superintendent of the Special School District.
Added by Acts 1979, No. 260, § 1. Amended by Acts 1999, No. 1342, § 1; Acts 2003, No. 682, § 1; Acts 2008, No. 432, § 1; Acts 2010, No. 470, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 441, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 788, § 3, eff. June 13, 2012; Acts 2018, No. 631, § 1; Acts 2019, No. 21, § 1; Acts 2019, No. 411, § 1, eff. June 20, 2019; Acts 2021, No. 275, § 4.