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What's the plan for school support staff?

Lynette Adams
Created: August 19, 2020 05:13 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We know Rochester City schools won't reopen for the start of the new year with kids in class and teachers will stay on the job, but what about support staff?

Will cafeteria workers, custodians and school security guards continue to work while kids take classes online?

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It is still the subject of talks between the district and the Board of Education non-teaching employees or BENTE Local 2419. Without a deal, it could mean some or all of the RCSD support staff represented by BENTE could face layoffs.

Currently, Union President Dan DiClemente is negotiating to keep cafeteria workers, school sentries and custodians employed.

DiClemente says although school won't be open, there is still plenty of work for his members. He says cafeteria workers have to prepare and help deliver meals to kids at rec centers and feeding stations. He also says Chromebooks will have to be delivered to students daily.

Currently, the union president said the question is: how many people will be needed? He also questions, if kids can gather at rec centers, why not in school buildings?

According to DiClemente, teachers signed an agreement to continue working even if they're not doing their assigned job.

“We think we can do the same with our members, submit a conscientious plan that puts students first and we're hopeful that the board and superintendent will seriously consider it to keep our people working,” DiClemente said. “Our people are low-income city residents, people who send their kids to city schools, so it's important to keep them employed throughout the pandemic.”

DiClemente says if support staff is laid off, it will be tough to recall them when school buildings do re-open. With no federal unemployment to help out, he says people will have to find other jobs.

For full back to school coverage click here. 


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