CMS to waive days teachers were forced to take off during Florence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decided it will not penalize teachers for all the time they missed during Hurricane Florence.

District officials said they will waive the three days teachers took off when the storm canceled school.

CMS initially said teachers would have to use their own personal days to cover the time they were forced to take off.

"I think it's wrong for them to use their vacation time for things they can't control,” parent Bridgette McConnell said.

Some teachers were upset with the district's initial decision and said they hoped the decision wasn't final because they do not think they should be penalized for storm closings.

"There seems to have been a rush by some schools, but not all of them, to say that teachers have to put in for these days right now and that shouldn't have happened because that is confusing,” teacher Erlene Lyde said.

CMS officials said they designate types of days for employees based on policy. Hurricane Florence was designated a Code C, which means that all CMS employees are scheduled to take the days out of school as personal leave days, with the exception of those employees who are considered "essential."

"Beginning teachers don't have extra annual leave days, so it would mean automatically a loss in pay for them,” Lyde said.

"They can't control weather, as far as a hurricane, no one can. That's an act of God,” parent Brandon Johnson said.

While the schools were closed, the district used them as shelters for families who evacuated the coast.

Other districts in the area also canceled class to use their schools as shelters, but some of those districts are also trying to forgive those days so they do not count against teachers.

Union County Schools told Channel 9 they are asking the state if those days will be waived for teachers so it does not come out of their personal time off.

In the past, CMS has forgiven days like these.

One reason the district was slow to decide if they would forgive the days was because it is still early in the year.

This decision could restrict their options if the district faces even more closings when winter hits.

CMS statement:

CMS waiving Sept. 13, 14 and 17 for students and staff

The 19,000 employees of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are dedicated to helping every student achieve. Our community’s support for all CMS team members as the severe impacts of Hurricane Florence continue is vital to maintaining focus on teaching and learning in our schools.

After discussion with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education leadership, review by the Board’s General Counsel, and based on the superintendent’s authority under current Board policy ICA School Calendar, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is waiving Sept. 13, 14 and 17 as school and or/work days for students and staff.

 Policy ICA states that “…the Superintendent is authorized to waive up to four instructional days each year in the event schools are closed to students because of severe weather or other emergency conditions.”

 This decision means that any exempt employee who took leave of any sort for Sept. 13, Sept. 14 and/or Sept. 17 will have that leave credited back to their leave balance.

 Non-exempt employees will be provided the opportunity to earn income lost during this current pay period within a subsequent pay period and on a previously calendared teacher work day. Those teacher work days include Oct. 31, Dec. 19, January 2, Jan. 22, Feb. 18, March 29 and June 10-12. Non-exempt employees will work with their building leader or department manager to schedule up to three days of lost earnings.

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