Letter to Superintendent Penna Regarding COVID-19 and Staff Compensation

March 19, 2020

BUXTON, Maine — Nathan Carlow, a member of the MSAD 6 Negotiations Committee, issued the following statement:

“I was very pleased to hear that support staff would be paid throughout this school closure, and I wanted to reach out to the Superintendent to encourage the continuation of that policy should schools remain closed for an extended period of time.”

Carlow sent a letter to the Superintendent, and the text of that letter can be found below:

“Dear Superintendent Penna:

“The threat that the COVID-19 virus presents is serious and dangerous, and I believe that closing District facilities was the responsible thing to do in order prevent the transmission of this illness. I commend you for your proactive approach in confronting this grave public health concern. As the likelihood increases, however, that public schools throughout Maine will remain closed for extended periods of time, we must quickly develop a plan to compensate our employees during this emergency.

“If our District remains closed for an extended and unforeseen period of time while Governor Mills’s Proclamation of a State of Civil Emergency to Further Protect Public Health (March 15, 2020) is in effect, I strongly encourage that the Administration continue to pay our employees at their normal rate of pay as well as to continue providing the contractual benefits that they would otherwise qualify for. This is a unique and special circumstance, and suspending our typical payroll structure would have adverse outcomes for our District, its various stakeholders, as well as our local economy, of which M.S.A.D. #6 is the largest employer.

“The work that has been done administratively thus far is truly impressive, and the caliber of our faculty and staff — even during this emergency — is extraordinary. As a District, we have done what we can to prevent the spread of this virus, we have developed our plan for distance learning, and now, the next step should be to ensure that our payroll and benefits structure can continue without interruption should schools remain closed.

“During or before the next regular meeting of the Board, I request that the Administration inform the Board of its plan.”

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