Absences force Durham Public Schools to cancel classes again, this time for Monday

All Durham Public Schools will be closed on Monday due to transportation personnel absences, a continuation of the weeks-long chaos over budgeting and pay issues, the district announced Sunday afternoon.

Classes were also canceled on Friday because of transportation absences and a residual of the pay issues, DPI spokeswoman Crystal Roberts told The News & Observer.

The absences involve transportation support personnel who must inspect school buses to transport students, Roberts said. There are 31,000 students across the school system, 70% of whom ride buses.

Roberts was not immediately able to say how many absences were involved that led to the decision to cancel classes Monday.

Asked what was being done to address these absences, Roberts said that the school board would next be meeting on Feb. 22. Beyond their work, “we are taking this one day at a time,” she said.

All Durham Public Schools will be closed on Monday due to transportation personnel absences, affecting thousands of students. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/TNS
All Durham Public Schools will be closed on Monday due to transportation personnel absences, affecting thousands of students. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/TNS

Weeks of turmoil at DPS

Nearly two months ago Durham schools superintendent Pascal Mubenga, who has since resigned, alerted the school board chairwoman and a board member about a possible budget shortfall related to staff salary increases, The News & Observer previously reported.

This discovery meant that the school district did not have enough money to pay promised raises to the school system’s non-licensed staff — bus mechanics, groundskeepers, instructional assistants and cafeteria workers, the N&O reported.

Weeks of turmoil followed, prompting protests and school closures that persist.

On Thursday, the system announced that it had hired former Wake County Superintendent Catty Moore to serve as interim superintendent of the district.

It also announced that classified staff will keep the higher salaries in February, but there’s still no clarity on what will happen the rest of the academic year, the N&O reported.

According to Roberts, DPS afterschool programs will not operate tomorrow but athletics and other afterschool extracurricular activities will operate as normal.

Monday will be a workday for all employees, according to Roberts.