RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools’ career and technical education (CTE) teachers learned they will see a “gap” in their pay and work two fewer weeks a year, leading to salary change, after indicating they would return for the next school year.

The school district notified its CTE teachers, who teach occupational, career, or technical subjects, about the change in their contracts in a March 10 message obtained by 8News.

“We value our CTE team and appreciate the time and energy you spend to ensure our students are college and career-ready,” the division’s Secondary Pathways Director Laura J. Faulcon and CTE Manager Rhonda Turner wrote in the opening of the message.

Teachers received the email the same day they had to submit paperwork letting the district know they intended to return for the next school year, an unofficial form used to help the district know which positions to fill.

“They waited until after we got off to send the email,” a Richmond schools’ CTE teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of retribution, told 8News.

According to the message, CTE teachers in the district will no longer work 10 months out of the year and instead be on the same contract as other teachers in the district, who work two fewer weeks, starting in the 2023-24 school year. 

“We know that in the past you had used the extra two weeks to inventory materials, maintain your labs, and engage in professional learning,” the message reads. “These will still be important duties and the CTE Specialist team and I will provide support during this transition, including CTE specific PD during preservice.”

As a result of the shorter contract, the district wrote in the message that CTE teachers will see “a salary adjustment.” The contract change will also create “a gap in pay” for these teachers, according to the message, that will lead them to not get paid on Aug. 21 “unless pay advance arrangements are made.”

A school district spokeswoman was adamant that the adjustment “won’t have a negative impact on” CTE teachers’ salaries and that the pay advance option the division will offer will address the expected gap in pay in August.

The district’s school board members did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Katina Harris, the president of the Richmond Education Association, told 8News on Thursday that the union is aware of the contract change but did not comment on the substance of the message.

Harris said the union would know more after the district holds a virtual meeting Friday with CTE teachers.

“We understand this is a change and that you may have questions. Our team is here to support you,” the district’s message reads. “There will be a meeting on Friday, March 17, 2023. A google meet invitation will be sent to your email.”

Update: This story has been updated to include the response from Richmond City Public Schools, which came after publication.