Regularly scheduled employees working in the Carmel Clay School (CCS) district will continue to be paid for the remainder of the school year (May 21) despite the closure of school campuses according to Mike Kerschner, president of the school board.
Superintendent Michael Beresford said via email that regularly scheduled employees were “hourly workers such as bus drivers, instructional assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians, front office staff and other regular workers who have had their work disrupted by COVID-19.”
According to Associate Superintendent Roger McMichael, the custodial staff will cost the district about $450,000 for the continual payment of employees over the course of the remaining school year.
McMichael said, “For the food service employees, it costs about $15,000 and the net cost (to pay) these regularly scheduled employees is about $450,000.”
Most funding for CCS employees comes from the state, which is not affected by the school ending in-school instruction. However, for other employees such as cafeteria workers, their payment comes from the revenue of meals.
The school board unanimously approved a resolution to ensure the continued payment of these employees at a school board meeting conducted on March 23.
According to Beresford, the board decided to authorize it to financially support these employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beresford said, via email, “I believe the board and really all of us didn’t want members of our CCS family to lose income because of (COVID-19). We are also using this time to do some professional development and training online, so they are working a bit, just differently.”
Additionally, McMichael said that cafeteria workers are coming into CHS to help prepare food for the meal assistance program on a voluntary basis.
“We will continue to pay cafeteria workers whether or not they are working,” McMichael said. “If they are able and willing to work, we would greatly appreciate them coming to help pack meals.”
According to Holly Huepenbecker-Hull, food service manager at CHS, cafeteria workers and any other volunteers pack meals on Mondays and Tuesdays. They then distribute the meals on Wednesdays.
“If there are any (cafeteria workers) who, for whatever reason at all, do not feel comfortable coming in, they are not required to come in at all,” Huepenbecker-Hull said. “Luckily, we have had people outside of food service including administrators, counselors, social workers and more come in who want to volunteer to help. It has been great meeting these people you would not normally see.”
For McMichael, he said that the school board feels grateful they can continue to pay employees through this difficult time.
“We feel really fortunate enough to be able to afford to pay our employees through this time and are glad we can support them,” McMichael said.