CAMAS, WA (KPTV) - With fewer kids in schools, some school districts are facing budget crunches and tough choices.
In the case of the Camas and Washougal school districts, that's translated to furloughs for about 100 employees.
"I was one of the first to get furloughed, because it is a seniority thing at the district. So I was at the bottom," said Chyenne Bridger, a custodian at Gause Elementary School in Washougal and one of 60 Washougal employees furloughed. "I took a big hit when I got furloughed because I'm making less than half of what I was making before. And to be honest, unemployment is awful right now."
In the Camas School District, the union that represents classified workers said 40 employees are currently affected by furloughs, and many have found unemployment compensation hard to come by.
"A lot of our members were denied for various reasons. Our partial furloughed folks, they're struggling the most," said Lorraine Schmid, the union's chapter president.
Both districts hope to bring furloughed workers back when schools open again to in-person instruction.
In the meantime, workers like Bridger are left wondering when that might be and whether they'll need to look for another job.
"I would rather have at least an idea, 'oh, hey maybe we can bring you back around this time,' but I haven't got that yet," said Bridger.
Clark County currently has what the state considers a high level of COVID-19 activity, with more than 75 cases per 100,000 people.
Under the state's reopening plan for schools, the districts could only phase-in in-person learning if case counts drop below that threshold.
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