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After parent and teacher complaints, Wake says it will resume summer learning program

·2 min read

Wake County school leaders are pledging to resume a summer learning program for year-round and modified-calendar students and to pay staff for all the time they’ve agreed to work.

Parents and teachers have been complaining since Wake County announced last week that it was “pausing” the learning program because it didn’t have enough staff. School administrators told the school board on Monday that they’ll restart the program as soon as possible and they’ll honor the contracts of employees who can still work in the program.

“Staff that are available and remain available will be able to complete the contracted hours that we had with them with the intent of completing the summer program with students,” Superintendent Cathy Moore said at Monday’s school board student achievement committee meeting.

The exact restart date for the program wasn’t announced Monday. Edward McFarland, Wake’s chief academic officer, said they’re working to help the schools that say they don’t have enough staff.

North Carolina school districts were required last summer to offer a new six-week summer learning program to help at-risk students dealing with learning loss.

Traditional-calendar students completed the program over the summer, but Wake announced it was pausing the program even though thousands of yer-round and modified-calendar students still had weeks left to go.

Wake cited staffing shortages, saying it’s having a hard time just trying to get enough people to work during regular school days. School districts across the state are dealing with staffing shortages, particularly among bus drivers.

Drew Cook, Wake’s assistant superintendent for academics, said half the year-round schools said they had staffing issues with the program.

Pause upset parents, teachers

The decision to pause the program upset families who wanted their children to get the same opportunity to complete the program as traditional-calendar students.

The pause had also upset employees who were worried that they could lose thousands of dollars promised to them when they signed a contract to work the summer program.

Wake offered $45 an hour to teachers and $20 an hour to non-certified staff, plus an attendance bonus of up to $1,200 deepening on how many of the six weeks they worked. Some teachers were also eligible for a state-mandated $1,200 signing bonus.

Teachers will still get the signing bonus. But the year-round employees will only get the remaining hours of pay and the full $1,200 attendance bonus if the program resumes.

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