CMS temporarily closing after-school programs, cutting more than 200 jobs

CMS reduces after school programs prompting layoffs

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is temporarily closing many of its after-school program sites, which will lead to the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Those sites also include before-school services.

According to an announcement from the school board, the decision was made because of decreased enrollment and revenue.

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The temporary closures will go into effect on April 5.

  • 224 employees will lose their jobs on April 2
  • There are 95 sites, but that will be reduced to 25
  • 477 students will be impacted by the closures

The district plans to reevaluate the After-School Enrichment Program (ASEP) sites for the 2021-2022 school year.

There has not been as much of a demand for the ASEP child care service this year because:

  • Most students enrolled in Full Remote Academy do not require ASEP services
  • Students in remote learning sites provided by community partners may not need ASEP services
  • More parents working from home means reduced need for ASEP services

This major decrease in enrollment has created a monthly deficit of about $800,000, forcing the difficult decision to temporarily pause the program.

“We’ve not yet seen all of the long-term impacts the pandemic will have on the district, our students and families,” said Superintendent Earnest Winston. “The After-School Enrichment team has provided tremendous support for our community and we look forward to restoring this valuable program in the future.”

A CMS mother told education reporter Elsa Gillis that the before- and after-school programs were a relief.

“To have someone that could assist him with his work, like, an actual educator that can help him, it was a plus,” the mother said.

But now she is concerned about CMS’s latest decision.

“I’m a single parent,” she said. “My household simply relies on my income, and it’s just me and my son.”

She works 12-hour shifts and must juggle her job and child care while paying a babysitter when it is necessary.

Other remote learning sites with space have been too costly, the mother said.

“With the housing situation in Charlotte, how much you pay in rent and all the essentials to keep your household up and running, I can’t afford $250 a week for someone to sit down and watch my child,” she said.

ASEP was an affordable option and worked with her schedule.

“I understand that CMS may not have the money that they used to have, but they need to provide alternatives before they make major decisions,” the mother told Gillis.

Families with students who will be displaced from ASEP services and staff affected will be notified, officials said. The district will also help staff look for other jobs within the district, and connect families to other services and childcare.

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