‘We had no idea’: ASEP staff members face unknown future after decision to temporarily close locations

224 staff out of work after school programs close

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In less than a month, more than 200 After School Enrichment Program staff members will be without a job.

Last week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced the decision to temporarily close 60 of the current 85 sites.

For the 224 employees affected, the decision came as a surprise.

“Very abrupt, we had no idea this was even an option or something that we were facing, so it was kind of very you know shocking,” a staff member said.

Leaders cited a decrease in enrollment and a monthly deficit of $800,000 as the reason. The last day for the staff members will be April 1.

Fighting back tears, the reality of the decision hit during our interview.

“This is emotional for you?” the staff member was asked.

“It is, it’s a lot,” she said. “Probably the first time that I’ve ever kind of really felt this, you know, that this is real. Today, we got the paperwork saying that, you know, pretty much your last day is on the first and like you said, it’s one thing to have made the choice on your own, but I didn’t have that, you know, that wasn’t my story. It was written for me.”

CMS temporarily closing after school programs

The duties of an ASEP worker are a necessity, she said. She has worked for more than two decades as an ASEP staff member.

“For the most part, we’re one of the first faces that they see as well as one of the last faces. We’re dependent upon to help get homework done, to get them to and from after-school activities, extra tutorial services that they may have,” she said. “Parents, you know, work different work hours so everyone doesn’t get off at three o’clock and four o’clock and everybody doesn’t have the opportunity to be able to pick their kids up and carpool.”

She hopes she can find another job opportunity within the district.

“I love what I do, I love my kids, I love my family, I love my parents. My hope was to be able to retire from CMS you know being a product of CMS,” she added.

The district says they are helping staff members identify other employment opportunities. District leaders say they will reevaluate the sites for the next school year.

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