Wake County Schools

District says 15 Wake school cafeterias could be impacted by sick-out a second day

Posted November 16, 2021 8:58 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2021 7:17 a.m. EST

— Even after the district approved another bonus for full-time employees Tuesday night, Wake County Public School System leaders said a cafeteria staff "sick-out" could continue for a second day, impacting 15 schools on Wednesday.

The schools that could be possibly affected are:

  • Alston Ridge Middle School
  • Apex Middle School
  • Baileywick Middle School
  • Banks Elementary School
  • Brier Creek Elementary School
  • Cary High School
  • Creech Elementary School
  • Davis Drive Middle School
  • Fuquay-Varina High School
  • Holly Springs High School
  • Ligon Middle School
  • Ligon Middle School
  • North Garner Middle School
  • Oakview Elementary School
  • Underwood Elementary School
  • Willow Spring High School

On Tuesday, school leaders reassured parents that, even without cafeteria service, no child who needs a meal would be left without one, at the 30 schools where cafeteria staff called out.

School leaders previously told parents that their child's school lunch would be pre-made, non-heated items, and Wake County Board of Education chair Keith Sutton implied schools would order pizza if it came to that.

"We can assure parents that while it may not be the traditional school lunch meal that students are accustomed to, it may be one that students may like a little bit more. It might be pizza or something of that nature, but either way students will be fed," said Keith Sutton, Wake County school board chairman.

Wake schools sent an alert to parents on Monday night, warning that more than 30 schools, due to staff shortages, would not serve meals as usual.

Parents were urged in the email to pack their child's lunches. However, many children rely on school meal programs for both breakfast and lunch, which are served free each day.

School leaders reassured parents that, even without cafeteria service, no child who needs a meal would be left without one.

District leaders didn't provide a specific number of how many cafeteria workers called out sick on Tuesday.

This message, which caught many families off guard, comes on the heels of a Wake County Schools bus driver sick-out that lasted two full days at the end of October, when some 160 buses were left without drivers.

The unrest comes as district leaders offer bonuses to employees.

Earlier this month, the Wake County Board of Education approved a $1,250 bonus for all full-time employees and a smaller bonus for part-time employees along with a 1% local supplement salary increase for educators.

On Tuesday night, the board approved another $3,750 in bonuses for employees, which will be paid throughout the school year in three $1,250 installments in January, May and November.

Thousands of school district employees work positions in which the starting pay — and pay for the first several years — falls below $13 per hour. Those positions are largely clerical, in food service, couriers, drivers and custodians — positions that would have some or significant interaction with students.

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