Lost in the uproar over how much money school teachers are to be paid is a budget provision that will pay other school workers a $500 per year raise.
We’re talking about the mechanics who keep the buses running, the custodians who keep the schools clean and the data managers who make sure a child’s grades are correctly reported and that they are actually coming to school each day as they should.
That equates to an increase of 24 cents per hour. Less than a quarter. Put another way, it’s less than $10 per week. Not even enough to take the family out to dinner once a week, much less pay higher electric bills or cover the increasing cost of food.
Regardelss of what side of the teacher-pay issue you fall on, it’s hard to imagine our schools succeeding without the work the support staffs do. Imagine a teacher who has to add to his or her daily routine tasks like: take the children home, vacuum the floor, take out the trash. Most of us wouldn’t stand for having them add those duties to their daily to-do list.
But someone has to do that work. It’s not very appealing to think that the value of those kinds of jobs has risen less than a quarter per hour over the past year. It’s half the raise state employees received in this year’s budget.
And, while we realize there will always be more needs than money, we believe this is one group that took it on the chin again this year.
The budgetary decisions all appear to have been made for this year, so it’s unlikely anyone will change the numbers now.
But we would encourage future budgetmakers to remember there are hard-working, valuable employees in other roles who deserve the opportunity to keep up with the rising cost of living too. Perhaps next year we will hear that others agree with that philosopy and want to do right by those workers as well.