Osseo School Board Votes 5-1 to Keep All Staff
Non-teacher employees for the Osseo School District will not be furloughed. The decision came after Tuesday’s lengthy school board meeting.
This impacts 183 educational support professionals (ESP) that cover emergency care sites and roughly 50 nutrition service employees.
Option “A” vs. Option “B”
Ron Meyer, executive director of finance and operations for the district, presented two options before the board.
Option “A” includes transferring about $1 million from the general fund to the community service fund to eliminate a deficit in unrestricted community education reserve. There would be no layoffs in food nutrition and community education programs, specifically the emergency care program.
Option “B” would furlough all hourly emergency care staff and nutrition service staff through the end of the school year. This does not include essential employees needed to continue the free meal program. This option includes a transfer of $433,787 from the general fund to the community service fund to eliminate the deficit in unrestricted community education reserve. Because emergency care staff would be furloughed in this option, fund 1 employees such as teachers, nurses and principals would be reassigned to take over those duties.
School Board Members Respond
Five of the six school board members voted to continue having all ESPs and nutrition service employees working.
“The stress and the feeling I had in the last few days, thinking that this is even an option we want to consider, makes me physically ill because we have the money,” said Jackie Mosqueda-Jones, a school board member. “This district has the money to be able to do that with zero impact on our budget this year. I have no idea why we are even discussing this.”
Osseo School Board member Heather Douglas also voted for no layoffs. She said the process has been challenging and it was never the intentions of the board and administration to make staff feel undervalued.
“My opinion is that the board never intended to cause panic amongst our ESPs, that their jobs were on the line,” Douglas said. “My understanding is that it’s the administrations responsibility to present both pieces of information so we’re making decisions with all the information we have.”
Not everyone agreed with option A. School board member Jessica Craig explained that the private sector is constricting, which means a loss of revenue to the state. Craig said it could eventually trickle down to the district.
“I don’t want to make a decision where we are funding off option A and then funding off option B as well. We’re called to make difficult decisions. It’s hard and that’s because we’re in a crisis, so I’m not going to support option A at this time,” Craig said.
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