Nearly 600 school bus drivers and food service workers in Frederick County, Maryland, will temporarily be laid off as students learn online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Frederick County Public Schools announced Thursday that they will begin a temporary “reduction in force.”
Board of Education President Brad Young said that with school online until at least January, the district didn’t need so many employees.
“The money is in the budget. The issue is there’s no work for them,” he said, calling it a tough decision.
The layoffs are temporary, said Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban.
“When FCPS is able to return to fully normal operations, these jobs will return,” she said in a statement.
Dozens of drivers and other workers affected were willing to comment on the news.
School board member Liz Barrett said she felt the layoffs were wrong. She had suggested cutting the pay of central office employees to help save jobs.
“We have to consider everything before we lay off hundreds of people in a pandemic,” she said.
Employees’ medical and dental insurance plus prescription coverage will be continued.
The district lost a lot of money this past spring from not being able to sell breakfast and lunch, the superintendent said. Those funds help pay food service workers’ salaries.
Frederick County students will begin online instruction for the school year starting Aug. 31. The temporary layoffs are effective Sept. 15.