OSWEGO — The Oswego City School District announced Friday, following its Board of Education meeting, that some district staff could be temporarily furloughed due to a change in job demand associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mathis Calvin III announced the decision, approved by the board during a special meeting Friday afternoon, citing the district has needed to temporarily shut down some of its operations due to COVID-19, resulting in an impact on the need and availability of certain tasks and responsibilities.
The district is faced with the “difficult task” of ensuring that its staffing levels are commensurate with OCSD’s operational needs, Calvin noted, while “respecting the dedication and commitment of the outstanding staff” throughout the district.
“Given this reality and the fact that the district is legally obligated under the New York state Constitution to refrain from gifting public funds for any purpose, the district is now planning to implement furloughs wherever needed as we move forward throughout the remainder of this school year,” said Calvin.
Calvin emphasized he hopes the furloughs would not be long-lasting, but they are subject to the staffing needs of the district. Any staff members who are subject to furlough will be notified by their direct supervisor or the human resources office. The district anticipates that furloughs may begin as soon as next week.
The resolution approved by the Board of Education states the superintendent can furlough staff during any period of school closure to in-person student instruction for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year when there is no work for such employees to perform consistent with their duties in the district.
The district is currently in the process of finalizing an agreement on the terms of any furlough with the district’s collective bargaining unit, Calvin said. He added the goal of any final agreement is to try to reassure the district’s employees of their continued employment and benefits with the District during any period of temporary reduction of hours pursuant to such furlough.
Officials said the district will be continuing in its communications with staff and their union representatives and leadership to answer any others that may arise.
“This was not an easy decision and we want to make sure those impacted have accurate, reliable information as we move forward,” said Calvin. “We will be in touch with updates as they become available and will do everything we can to support our staff during this time.”