Durham Public Schools will reopen Tuesday after striking employees brought the district to a standstill late last week.
“This does not include our bus drivers, but we cannot operate buses without mechanics and transportation supervisors,” Board of Education Chair Bettina Umstead said in a news release Friday. “Since 75% of our students are bus riders, we are unable to hold school if our buses cannot operate.”
Some families scrambled to find emergency child care or brought their kids to work with them. Others took unscheduled days off.
A district spokesperson said Monday afternoon that the schedule for making up those days remains undecided.
It’s unclear what the protesting transportation staff want.
For the past month, the district has been thrown into chaos by budgeting errors that prompted the administration to withdraw raises promised to classified staff, including transportation workers, but also instructional assistants, custodians, physical therapists, interpreters, cafeteria workers and more.
The Durham Association of Educators, which organized protests that closed 12 schools one day and seven schools another, had all of its demands met last week when the school board agreed to meet with the union and pay the higher salaries promised last year through February.
“We were thrilled that the Board listened to our collective voice,” a written statement from DAE said. “We also understand the continued frustration and stress workers feel.”
What will happen with pay the rest of the school year remains undetermined. The school board has met five times since the issues were unveiled in mid-January, but has been unable to reach a consensus.
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15: The Durham Association of Educators meets with the school board.
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22: The next scheduled school board meeting.