During its virtual meeting April 7, the Loudoun County School Board voted unanimously to continue its Income Replacement Program and COVID-19 Time Limited Emergency Pay, or CTLEP, through May 23 with the possibility of extension.
As voted, CTLEP will continue double pay for hourly, non-exempt Loudoun County Public Schools employees who are required to physically report to a work site during the closure period brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. These include school nutrition workers, custodians, secretaries and bus drivers, among others.
The Income Replacement Program allows part-time employees and substitutes to continue to receive compensation during the closure period. Affected workers include parent liaisons, cafeteria monitors and daily substitute teachers.
LCPS Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services Sharon Willoughby presented estimated costs of continuing the two programs. Extending Income Replacement and CTLEP through May 23 will cost the division roughly $6.09 million, with an additional $5.61 million cost should the programs be extended through June 30.
According to the LCPS School Operating Fund Quarterly Financial Review, which was released March 31, the division's fiscal 2020 surplus in the personnel category is more than $34.3 million, with an overall expenditure surplus of $42.93 million.
Factoring in a $13.15 million deficit in revenue from the state and other sources and $12 million in funds designated for fiscal 2021, the total projected undesignated fund balance for LCPS this fiscal year comes out to $17.78 million, which the division will use to fund Income Replacement and CTLEP.
Broad Run District Representative Leslee King made the motion to continue the program through May 23.
"Those who are on-site — the nutrition workers, the bus drivers, those people who are handing out the food and delivering the Chromebooks — they deserve two times the pay," she said. "We're asking them to do things that could be dangerous to their health."
Beth Barts (Leesburg District) asked Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Kevin Lewis whether turnout for workers willing to work on-site for double pay has been high. While Lewis said those who report to worksites are enthusiastic and helpful in sustaining necessary programs, he added the number of such workers, particularly in School Nutrition Services, has gradually shrunk.
"We have seen a noticeable change in the folks ... that have been not reporting and having some concerns about their own safety," Lewis said. He added there are measures in place to ensure the free meal service continues, though employee participation has not been so robust as to cause LCPS overlarge expenditures in paying them double.
Superintendent Eric Williams said double-pay has been "absolutely crucial" in motivating employees to report to worksites.
Though both ultimately voted in support of the extension, Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District) and Jeff Morse (Dulles District) cautioned the rest of the board that electing to continue paying double — as opposed to the time-and-a-half pay exhibited by Fairfax County's and Prince William County's school systems — is a weighty precedent to set.
"Once you shoot the arrow, it's always hard to pull back," Mahedavi said. "It's very difficult from all angles to pull back from two to 1.5."
The unanimous vote to continue the two programs through May 23 came after roughly an hour of discussion. Other items of note during the meeting included votes to adjust distance-learning grading measures.
The April 7 meeting is available to view in full at vimeo.com/405084919.