Gov. Janet Mills and Legislative Democrats met the statewide commitment to fund 55 percent of Maine’s public schools, but that funding isn’t trickling down to hourly employees in the school system of Maine’s biggest city like it should.
Janitors, bus drivers, food service providers, and other hourly employees have not received their paychecks on time for the third week in a row, a screw up the district is blaming on the lack of payroll staff.
The district is also experiencing a shortage of bus drivers — which may or may not be linked to the school’s inability to pay people on time — and that may cause major disruptions to the routines of Portland families. The district may even have to cancel some bus routes.
“We’re now on the verge of returning to a routine of bus cancellations, as we are experiencing turnover and high numbers of staff out due to illness,” Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana told Fox 23 Maine.
Portland School Board Chair and left-wing activist Emily Figdor told the outlet the delays hitting hourly workers’ paychecks have affected the last three payment periods.
Teachers at the district’s government-run schools are paid on a salary basis and have not been affected by the delayed payments.