SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Fifteen — that’s how many days more than 200 Scranton School District Employees have left until they are without a job.
The district voted to furlough them at last night’s board meeting. Of the eight board members, only two voted against the furloughs.
District officials say the decision is a repercussion of online learning. The Scranton School District will have 222 less employees at the end of the month as of right now.
The furloughs come as district roles change with remote learning.
“There are furloughs that are being dictated by changing roles and functions. Positions that are not required during the virtual model,” said Katie Gilmartin, president of Scranton School District Board of Directors.
Gilmartin says the district’s intention is for it to be temporary. Among the furloughs are 144 paraprofessionals, including personal care assistants.
“This decision is a betrayal of our children, our schools, and our city. The educational impact of these cuts will be deep, and the economic impact will also be deep,” Rosemary Boland, president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers said.
The furloughs also include 64 crossing guards, a nurse, part-time maintenance workers and more.
“We had to look at our staffing needs. We had to look at our facilities needs and see where we could realize savings,” said Gilmartin.
How much savings? It’s hard to tell. With delayed salaries, healthcare and prescription benefits ending, the district is looking at an approximate $526,000 savings between the first day of furloughs — on September 30th — to the end of the year.
Superintendent Missy McTiernan told Eyewitness News she’s working with other administrators to call paraprofessionals back who are needed within the district during online learning. It’s likely they would be back on the payroll by the end of the month.