Chichester School District employees anxious about possible furloughs

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ByJaclyn Lee via WPVI logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
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Protesters said their main concern is losing their health insurance.

ASTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Dozens of school bus drivers protested outside the Chichester School District building Wednesday morning, hours after school officials announced they are considering furloughs for school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other support staff.

Protesters said their main concern is losing their health insurance.

"(We) have a lot of people that have cancer, we have a lot of people that have ailments and you just can't do that," said Linda Durhan, of Trainer.

Others said they are anxious to be potentially losing health insurance during a pandemic.

"What if something medically wrong happens to one of us and we're now without any insurance...could possibly be facing death at that point?" said Melissa Chamberlain, of Lynnewood.

Chichester School District Superintendent Dan Nerelli said they're looking at furloughing close to 90 employees throughout the district, but they're still in the process of figuring out who and how many.

"There will be layoffs," said Nerelli. "It's just we're virtual we have people that aren't going to be employed. If you don't have runs for drivers to run, you can't pay people who are sitting down doing nothing. It wouldn't be right to the taxpayers."

Protesters said it's not fair that other district employees got raises while their jobs hang in the balance.

Nerelli said everyone who had a raise previously written in their contract received one and the district hopes to bring back employees soon.

"If we're fully back in our hybrid mode by November 9, all the 90 will be back then," said Nerelli. "They're back on their regular benefits, their regular salaries."

AFSCME Local 2196 President Jim Oberhoff explained there is a 15-day process once furlough notices are distributed and said he hopes they can find a solution with school officials.