Some Cobb County School District employees originally scheduled to work this week — the district’s fall recess — got a pleasant surprise when Superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced they could instead take a paid vacation.
Yet the announcement has left some employees upset, according to one who spoke to the MDJ on condition of anonymity.
“As many of you know, many of you don’t know — when you hear fall break, you just automatically assume that everybody’s on break, and that’s not the case,” Ragsdale said at last Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. “However it is today. I’m declaring that next week will be a wellness week.”
The exceptions, Ragsdale said, would be the “small number of employees” who are “working on specific projects,” as well as those involved in the district’s “fall learning quest.”
But an employee in the district’s maintenance department says he and every other hourly employee were told the superintendent’s directive applied only to salaried employees, such as teachers, who would have had off anyway.
“Everyone came in (Friday), ‘Hey we’re going to be off ... next week,’ the employee said. “(Ragsdale) said ‘everyone.’ You know, normally we don’t expect to be off because we’re not normally off. Usually, everyone else is off, so who else would he be including if he says, ‘the people who normally would be reporting in to work would not be reporting in’?”
In response to questions from the Journal, the district sent the following response:
“During a typical year, students and school-based staff enjoy a week-long Fall break. This year, Superintendent Ragsdale extended the break to include almost all staff so they could enjoy a wellness break.”
Whether that included any hourly employees or not, the district did not answer.
“We expect you to spend time with your family,” Ragsdale said Thursday. “It’s extremely important to have a fully rested and energized staff that can attend to the needs of over 110,000 students and 18,000 employees. It’s extremely important to make sure all of our employees are well and focused. And so I want everyone to be able to take next week to do exactly that.”