The Everett Public Schools wants to pay its vendors – such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers – and the vendors would appreciate being paid despite school being shut down for more than a month, but state law is preventing that from happening.
That said, this week State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he believes the State Legislature will iron out the technical issue and allow workers to be paid.
“That’s hundreds of vendors this is affecting and many Everett residents,” said DiDomenico. “It’s odd the schools want to pay them and it’s in the budget, but they can’t by law. We need to fix that. We will fix it in a couple of days.”
The issue affects vendors in the schools from For Kids Only, the cafeteria workers from Whitson’s and bus drivers – to name a few. Those workers, though there is money in the budget, cannot be paid as of now.
A stipulation in state law says vendor workers for school districts can only be paid if services are performed, preventing them from being paid now that school has been closed for an extended period of time.
“We’re working on a change to the statute right now to fix that issue,” he said.
DiDomenico said despite the shut-down at the State House, the legislature continues to meet regularly via online meetings.
On Tuesday, they had a caucus and last week they had an online meeting with 40 of the state’s top legislative leaders. They plan to have more as well in the coming weeks, likely about two a week.
“We’re still in business and passing bills and I’m co-sponsoring bills,” he said.