As you may be aware, last week we notified approximately 100 staff members that they were going to be furloughed (either in part or full) from their positions for the remainder of this school year. Please know that this decision was not made lightly, nor was it a reflection of the work performance of any of the employees’ impacted. We value and appreciate the contributions of ALL of our Westport Community Schools’ employees. By furloughing employees in this school year, we are able to offset some of the allowable costs from our next year’s budget. The financial impact of this pandemic is significant at the federal, state, and local level. It will have a long-term impact on the amount of funding that the school department will receive to provide the students of Westport with the best educational opportunities.
As we entered into the furlough this week, we recognized that there were some staff members who had been providing specific instruction and support to students (particularly students with disabilities) that could not be assumed by the teacher. Therefore, we have decided to return some staff members on a part-time basis to continue to provide that assistance. We were very deliberate in the identification of those employees following specific criteria. If an individual was not identified, it in no way is a reflection of how we feel about their performance or the type of work they perform for the district. We value EVERYONE’s contributions; rather, it was based on the identification of staff members providing specialized support to individual students (such as through their Individualized Educational Plans).
This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are being asked to explore tasks that are new; different; and, in many cases, uncomfortable. We are learning about what works and doesn’t as we go through this period of school closure. We appreciate your continued support and understanding.