USD 501 disputes claims that snow days cause support staff to miss out on pay

Local News

Snow days were a controversial topic at Thursday’s board of education meeting for Topeka Public Schools. 

The Kansas National Education Association claimed support staff missed out on pay because of eight snow days the district used this year.

They said hourly employees including paras, cafeteria workers and janitors should be paid for those days. 

Thursday night, several people voiced their concerns at the meeting. 

They said the district’s policy to make up snow days is not clear or enforced the same way in each building, and that support staff shouldn’t be burdened by circumstances out of their control.

“What we’re looking to do is ask for a clear, consistent policy to make sure that our most vulnerable staff who are already working for poverty wages aren’t punished by the snow days,” said Topeka High teacher Phillip Wrigley. “They don’t need to give up their sick leave for days that the district is not going to be making up.”

According to district spokeswoman Misty Kruger, there’s already a policy in place. 

Kruger said the policy allows employees to use personal days and sick days to replace snow days.

She also said that combined with the make-up time added to the year means there will be no lost pay for classified employees. 
The district will go to school two days they were previously scheduled off. 
They will also add 10 minutes to each day starting later this month to make up for the snow days.

The district has implemented a para advisory committee that has been meeting with superintendent Tiffany Anderson and members of leadership on a regular basis throughout the school year. 

Kruger said the district has made the recommendation to add additional personal days to help cover support staff if they experience a high number of snow days in the future.

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