200+ CMS employees to be laid off; district eliminates 60 After School Enrichment Program sites

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:31 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - More than 200 Charlotte-Mecklenburg employees will be out of a job after the school board decided to temporarily close many of its After School Enrichment Program sites.

The district says that 60 of the programs, out of the 85 currently open, will be shut down, meaning that 224 employees will be laid off.

According to CMS, those employees either at a school location with the ASEP program or in the central office.

The recommendation means those employees will be let go come April 2.

The reason, district officials say, is because of decreased enrollment and revenue.

There will be 25 ASEP sites across Mecklenburg County that will stay open through the remainder of the school year. All other temporary closures will go into effect on April 5.

The district said it plans to reevaluate ASEP sites for the 2021-2022 school year.

“I feel like the demand will be back as schools open up again and parents get back into work outside the homes, I think that’s coming sooner rather than later,” said CMS board chairperson Elyse Dashew.

Because of the pandemic, there has been a reduced demand for ASEP childcare services for many reasons, including:

  • Most students enrolled in Full Remote Academy do not require ASEP services
  • Students in remote learning sites provided by community partners may not need ASEP services
  • More parents working from home means reduced need for ASEP services

District officials say this substantial decrease in enrollment has resulted in declining revenue and created a monthly deficit of approximately $800,000.

“We’ve not yet seen all of the long-term impacts the pandemic will have on the district, our students and families,” says Superintendent Earnest Winston. “The After School Enrichment team has provided tremendous support for our community and we look forward to restoring this valuable program in the future.”

ASEP began in 1985 with eight sites to “provide a safe and nurturing environment beyond school hours where children receive assistance with homework, play sports, participate in arts activities, explore technology and computers and go on field trips,” according to CMS.

CMS says families with students that will be displaced from ASEP services and staff affected will be notified accordingly.

The district said it is committed to helping ASEP staff identify other employment opportunities and connecting families with alternate support services and childcare opportunities that exist in the community.

“Report is an acknowledgment of challenging times we are in that has been brought on by the pandemic,” Winston said. “We are in a position where we’re having to make some difficult and challenging decisions.”

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