Too often, we assume that the culture of schools is determined solely in the classroom. The truth is, our students' most basic needs -- safety, nutrition, emotional support, and so much more are most often delivered by our school support staff. Who is the first point of contact every day for most students? The bus driver. Who feeds our students? Lunchroom staff and cooks. Who keeps our buildings safe and healthy? Custodians and facilities directors. Who often delivers intense one-on-one academic and emotional support? Educational Assistants or Para-educators.
Great schools take a whole child approach and our support staff are vital partners in school climate; they deliver critical services and without them, no school could function.
Sadly, too many of these folks can't make ends meet with low pay, part-time work, and inconsistent schedules. There are quite literally, part-time school employees that work only for healthcare benefits -- zero take-home pay. All work should bring dignity and sustainability! Especially when that work involves the safety, security, and wellbeing of children.
As Superintendent, I will offer policy solutions that lower healthcare costs for our classified employees, increase their compensation, and ensure predictable, sustainable work schedules. To empower every student to their fullest potential, we cannot take shortcuts in supporting the people that support our kids.