Local school district notifies some cafeteria employees of potential layoffs

Local

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Pittsfield Public Schools may have to lay off a significant amount of their cafeteria staff, at least temporarily.

The district started out the school year entirely remote. Superintendent Jason McCandless told NEWS10 ABC that without teachers and students in the buildings, there’s not a lot of work for the cafeteria staff, and they’ve can’t afford to keep them employed.

For now, he said they’re notifying roughly 25 employees, but they’ve also moved several employees into temporary custodial and bus monitor positions so they can keep their jobs for the time being. He said once they begin to bring students back for in-person instruction, they should be able to bring most of the cafeteria staff back on board. 

“In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, food service providers are not accounted for in most school budgets. They are a self-sustaining entity. In essence, you could think of them as basically running a restaurant for students. In our case, it’s a restaurant that serves between 7,500 and 12,000 meals a week when we have all of our kids here. Right now, we’re serving 700 or 800 meals a week so we simply do not have the budgetary support to keep people employed, we don’t have the work for people to report to and do, so it’s really incumbent in getting our students back into school in-person,” said McCandless.

The superintendent said when all is said and done, he’s hoping that they will only have to execute about one dozen permanent layoffs.

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