Parkland Press

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Costs continue despite closure

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak reports that Act 13 of the state legislature requires all employees be paid as if the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order have not occurred.

“This includes regular base pay of all who were on the payroll as of March 13, no more, no less,” Sniscak said.

He noted the measure does not distinguish between professional and support staff.

All professional staff are involved in E-Learning and are able to communicate with students.

He added school nurses may be consulted on COVID-19 and any other health issues, while guidance counselors and psychologists are ready to respond to student needs.

Sniscak said music and art department staff are all involved in online instruction.

Paraprofessionals and teaching assistants are still working with teachers, and clerical staff is still assisting the administration and other departments as needed.

“We’re still having school. People are still doing it. They’re just doing it differently,” the superintendent said.

Sniscak noted principals, teachers and the technology department did a great job to make sure every student has Internet access.

The district provided a wireless hot spot, Kajeet, for filtered Internet service for families who need it.

He said Service Electric and RCN offer free wireless modem for students to connect for specified time frames.

Sniscak added that costs are ongoing even though students and staff are not in the buildings.

“We had to invest in technology so everyone can have the Internet,” Sniscak said. “We had to get cleaning supplies and protective equipment for those using it.

“Cafeteria workers are still being paid but no revenue is coming in from lunch sales to support the personnel cost.”

Overall, Sniscak stated the district has some savings from schools being closed but also continues to have financial obligations.

He reported 75 percent of expenses in the budget are salaries and benefits, and those costs are still in effect.