Durham Public Schools Closed Wednesday Due to Protests

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News Team

Durham Public Schools in North Carolina faced a significant staffing shortage, which led to the closure of 12 schools. This decision was made due to ongoing pay disputes and concerns voiced by several educators at a rally held at the Staff Development Center on Hillandale Road. The closed schools included Hillside, YE Smith, Whitted School, Lyons Farm, Forest View, Lakewood Elementary, Lucas Middle, Spring Valley, Riverside, Northern, Jordan, and Githens.

The educators demanded better pay conditions, and the president of the DPS Board of Education, Bettina Umstead, issued a statement apologizing for the pay confusion. She promised that employees would be able to keep the pay they received in 2023, as well as the higher pay rate for January 2024. Umstead emphasized that the DPS values each and every one of its employees and is working hard to resolve the issue.

The staffing shortage was exacerbated by a miscalculation of years of service when granting raises last year, leading to some workers being overpaid. This led to sporadic work absences and disruptions to the school system, including canceled bus routes. Many classified staff members, such as those working in maintenance, landscaping, or cafeterias, were affected by the elimination of pay increases, causing widespread anger.

Employees argued that the payments they received were correct and based on relevant work experience. However, a recent change in DPS policy on how relevant work experience was calculated caused many employees to lose those raises.

The ongoing pay dispute and staffing shortage have had a significant impact on the Durham Public Schools, leading to closures and disruptions. The DPS is working to address the concerns of its employees and resolve the issue to ensure the smooth operation of the school system.

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Education, Local, Politics

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