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.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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(3) comments


So what is this story about? Are people who work in schools different than the rest of us who have been hit hard by the virus?

Tyrell Higgs

Where does that money go, these are public schools, paid by taxes and bonds. The amount of kids going to the schools this term should not effect their finances? That money has already been spent?


Wondering the same thing here in Florence. Property tax on our home for the local High School is near $700/yr.

Not familiar with Washington, or Oregon's unemployment benefit. In the socialist sister state of California, unemployment benefits can be difficult to receive, however being laied off for no part of your own doing is pretty much the only prerequisite, that and enough paid tenure within the insurance scheme (scam?).

Having had been continuously employed for 50 years have never had to rely on the California insurance program, an rest assured my payments were put to good use (sic).

It's only money, States should support their work force under circumstances beyond their control.

They seem to have no problem in their attempts to create a sustainable lifestyle for the life long "unemployed" that continues to make up a large part of Portland, from reading reports on this site.

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