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Teachers Paying for Their Own Substitutes? Believe it or Not, It Happens.

A San Francisco second-grade teacher who, due to state law, must pay the cost of a substitute educator while she seeks treatment for breast cancer has made national headlines after parents at her school started an online GoFundMe campaign to cover her costs.

“Parents were outraged and incredulous—like, this can’t be. There must be some kind of mistake!” one parent told the San Francisco Chronicle.

But the situation, which has outraged parents and captured the attention of state lawmakers, isn’t just about this teacher or even this decades-old state law, which resembles policies in a handful of other districts. It reveals bigger issues: a public education system that is starved for state funds and resources, and too often relies on educators to sacrifice their own time, money, and well-being to make it work, union leaders say.