On Wednesday, hundreds of Durham Public Schools employees organized and participated in a “sick out,” as a result of growing resentment toward the elimination of thousands of pay raises. The “sick out,” which consisted of these employees calling out “sick,” was spearheaded by the Durham Association of Educators.
According to Axios Raleigh, 12 Durham schools were unable to open due to the lack of staff.
The “elimination of pay raises” will actually result in pay decreases for about 1,300 classified school system employees. Last year, these employees saw a pay increase in October that is claimed to be a result of an internal accounting error. While they will not have to pay back the extra salary they have been receiving, they will no longer see the same amount starting in February; it will be lowered to what it was before the increase.
These employees are not teachers; rather they are bus drivers, maintenance workers, nurses, grounds keepers, and cafeteria staff. Because of the “sick out,” bus routes were disrupted and schools could not function.
Many of these 1,300 employees made big financial decisions following their pay boosts. As of late, they do not know what will happen to their salary.
This Friday, the school board will meet to discuss how to handle this problem going forward. The Durham Association of Educators has demanded that there be no pay cuts, and voiced that they want a seat at the table in future discussions.