No classes for Durham Public Schools on Monday, district says

Josh Chapin Image
Monday, February 12, 2024
No classes for Durham Public Schools on Monday, district says
Those absences will prevent DPS from operating buses.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools announced schools will be closed for students on Monday because of absences within the transportation department.

Those absences prevented DPS from operating buses.

DPS afterschool programs will also not operate Monday.

However, athletics and other after-school extracurricular activities will operate as normal. Monday will be a workday for all employees.

Parents are feeling the strain as Durham Public Schools continues to deal with uncertainty as negotiations continue over the pay dispute.

ORIGINAL STORY (From Friday, Feb. 9)

Kristie Shoffner had to spend the day with her grandchildren Friday after Durham Public School canceled classes.

Her daughter had to go to work.

"I understand what's going on but it's affecting everybody," she said. "It's way too much."

One grandchild goes to WG Pearson Elementary School. Another goes to Forest View Elementary.

ALSO SEE: Interim Durham Public Schools Superintendent Catty Moore already getting to work

Shoffner also might be doing the same Monday as DPS sent a letter home to families saying there was a chance school could be canceled again -- for the same reason.

"It really is too much," she said. "It's not fair to the people who work in the system, but it's even more unfair to the kids."

On Friday, the district said it was the transportation staff that called out and made it cancel classes. The same could happen Monday. DPS noted the problem was not a shortage of bus drivers but rather support staffers.

DPS said parents would be notified Sunday night if classes are not held Monday.

Many of those staffers attended Thursday's Durham Public Schools Board of Education meeting where the district voted for those workers to get another month of paychecks with higher pay.

ALSO SEE: DPS to pay $300K to exiting superintendent, $25K per month to his replacement

The district said it committed a financial error last year that led to the salary increases.

Staffers still say these were the raises they were promised.

"It's something that's weighing on you," said Jeff Ray who lives in the Woodcroft area of Durham. "Like are they going to go to school today? Is it a two-hour delay?"

His son goes to Southwest Elementary School. He also has a 4-year-old daughter.

His neighborhood has pooled resources to be able to take children in for days that schools have been out.

"The other part of your brain that worries about kids not getting to school, no transportation: what's the single mom doing that has to go to work?" Ray said.

Durham County Commissioners said they are still reviewing information received by the Board of Education on the classified employee's salary budget gap.

Parents like Ray said they would understand if property taxes went up to pay workers in the school system.

"I think it costs what it costs," he said. "If it costs more money to pay our teachers, then we have to pay that money."

SEE ALSO | Documents reveal when Durham Public Schools knew of problems with salary study, budget

The 10-page salary increase report was released as part of the investigation into the pay dispute at Durham Public Schools.