A little more than two weeks into a new school year and Newschannel 5 is investigating one local charter school network, where staff members say they just got word their jobs might be eliminated. 'I Can Schools' says six of their eight schools in the state are at risk of losing 24 positions. 10, at University of Cleveland Preparatory School on East 40th. Staff members tell Newschannel 5 it is not a good work environment, and the issue is deeper than the way it may appear. Employees say they feel insecure and some folks say they are being taken advantage of.
"Over worked, under paid," said one staff member. "I just feel like i was lied to."
We spoke with employees who did not want to be identified but say it is a big problem for all positions, even those who are salaried.
"Sometimes they work up to seven days a week and for the most part they only get paid for five days." said staff member.
One employee tells Newschannel 5 via phone that there are some staffers who work upwards of 20 hours extra every week and are not compensated for it.
"It really puts you under minimum wage," said one staff member.
According to the Department of Labor under President Obama's new overtime rule, beginning December 1st, it is illegal to hire someone who makes less than $47,476 and make them work more than 40 hours a week without proper compensation, in this case, time-and-a-half pay. In a statement from I Can Schools, it says it does not require any overtime hours to be worked by teachers. This does not apply to building leadership, however. That being said, 24 positions are at risk of being eliminated.
"It's a pretty significant number overall," said one staff member.
I Can Schools says the possible cuts are just that; possibilities. Saying quote, "This reduction has not been finalized." They do however say, those who may lose their jobs did get a 30-day notice that it could happen next month.
"It's so unfortunate and it's most unfortunate for the kids," said employee.
A source tells Newschannel 5, two I Can Schools; one in Euclid and one in Akron were supposed to open this school year. They say families were enrolled and at the last minute, parents were told the schools were not opening until the 2017 school year. We asked I Can Schools if this was a factor in the layoffs. They say there is no correlation between the two schools closing and the possible layoffs. A different employee says that is not true, saying they were told enrollment was too low and that is why the system is making cuts.