The Janesville teacher suspected of being drunk while supervising students on a field trip received more than $18,000 after resigning, but the district's school board president says the payout was worthwhile.
Maria Caya was given $18,452.61 after asking to resign from her position as a fourth-grade teacher in the Janesville school district, according to her resignation agreement with the district and the Janesville Education Association.
The money comes from unpaid sick leave. Caya officially resigned on July 9 and will receive health and dental benefits through the end of August.
Police said Caya was drunk while supervising Washington Elementary students on a field trip to a Janesville bowling alley June 6.
The resignation agreement allows the district to avoid an internal investigation, which would have taken more than 200 hours and cost at least $20,000 to conduct, school board president Greg Ardrey said.
"To do a thorough investigation would've involved (interviewing) students," said Ardrey, who said he considered the situation as a parent. "Quite frankly, I would not want my son to go through that situation at all."
Janesville police said Caya would not face criminal charges for the incident. Caya had a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit, according to a police report.
According to the report, she drank alcohol before the school field trip and passed out in a bowling alley's bathroom.
As part of the resignation deal, Caya agreed not to seek employment at Janesville schools for five years, and also agreed not to sue the district for age discrimination.
Ardrey said he hadn't heard talk of a lawsuit before the agreement went into effect.
It wouldn't have been beneficial to have her back in a classroom because of the questions that remain in people's minds, he said.
"We didn't want to put her in that position and we didn't want to put our students and parents in that position," Ardrey said.
Janesville's staff handbook, an agreement that replaced the contract between the district and the teachers' union, stipulates that sick time may be converted to pay.
Caya's husband, Steve, who has commented on his wife's behalf in the past, didn't return an email seeking comment Monday.