About 2,100 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees are at risk of losing their paychecks if the district’s all-remote plan stretches well into the school year.
Starting Aug. 31, CMS plans to return to remote learning, and that’s raising concerns about employees who can’t work remotely or continue their normal jobs at schools.
"What will we do with them? How will we pay them?" board member Rhonda Cheek asked Wednesday. "Will there be layoffs necessary? How many jobs would we estimate that would fall under this?"
Most teachers can work remotely, and the district has found ways to keep many hourly workers employed even when school buildings are closed. For instance, some bus drivers and cafeteria staff worked at drive-up meal sites during the spring.
But Superintendent Earnest Winston about 2,100 of the district's 19,000 employees are shut out of remote options. He said it costs about $3.8 million every two weeks to pay them.
They’ll be employed for the first two weeks while students attend in-person orientation and will be paid leave for two more weeks. After that, Winston said he’ll look for other ways to keep them on the payroll.
"We should be fine for a few weeks, but for an extended period of time, then we would have to have some additional conversations about how we would move forward," Winston told the board Wednesday. He didn't specify which types of jobs are at risk.
Board members say they want to get students back in their classrooms once they can ensure good protection from the coronavirus. But they don’t know when that will be.
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