Lawrence school board takes potential staff furloughs off table — for now

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — There’s concern in one Kansas school system that talks of staff furloughs due to the pandemic could come up again.

The Lawrence Board of Education was expected to take action on that Monday night — but it was taken off the agenda at the last minute.

“It takes more than just teachers and principals to run a school,” middle school teacher Jackie Stafford said. “It’s nurses, counselors, secretaries, registrars in the counseling office; it’s social workers, cafeteria workers, custodians. All of those folks are needed to run a school.”

But many of those jobs Stafford mentioned, like the custodians and cafeteria workers, fall into the classified category.

With school starting Sept. 8 and being online for the first six weeks, the district determined that classified workers weren’t needed right away.

But even though the discussion was cut from the board’s meeting Monday night, a paraprofessional educator who helps students with special needs on work skills is worried it will come back — and she could be on the chopping block.

Asking to remain anonymous to protect her job, she said she’s yet to receive a contract for this year, which she called a bad sign.

“It’s disheartening,” she said. “The people I work with truly love our jobs, and we love the kids that we work with, and really see that this is an essential part of their education system.”

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