Some teachers at state-run virtual school will be forced to take time off

Roughly 220 teachers at the N.C. Virtual Public School (NCVPS) who worked this summer have been notified they will not be allowed to work the fall semester.

The teachers, all temporary employees, are victims of state law, which forbids temporary workers from working an entire year without a break in service.

Under state law, the teachers are required to take a mandatory 31-day break in service in order for NCVPS and the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR) to be in compliance with the law.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson sent affected teachers an email message Thursday summing up the situation.

“The directive to take a semester-long break was determined by NCVPS with legal counsel from the State Board [of Education] office and the Office of State Human Resources,” Johnson wrote.

He pledged to work to find a better solution.

“While I believe those involved were attempting to find a good solution, I was unfortunately not consulted on this issue,” Johnson wrote. “I am now aware and have already reached out to the Governor’s office and the General Assembly to find a better solution.”

In 2014, NCVPS was required to switch to a temporary employment service for processing of payroll and other human resources functions for temporary employees.

Jill Lucas, a spokeswoman in the state Office of Human Resources, said teachers are erroneously pointing a finger at her department and Temporary Solutions, which processes the school’s payroll.

“N.C. Virtual School is their employer,” Lucas said. “The impacted employees should contact their employer for further direction.”

Lucas said the school was given alternatives in May that it could have used to avoid the current situation.

“They [NCVPS] could have considered other ways to contract with their employees, which would have allowed them to reset the clock,” Lucas said.

NCVPS is the state run online class program in North Carolina.  It is reportedly the second largest online class program in the United States. The school has served over 175,000 middle and high school students since it opened in the summer of 2007.

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