SUGGESTED MESSAGE to School Board members: Feel free to put this in your own words. "I'm calling because I'm concerned that our school support staff are working without a contract. I hope that you settle a contract that includes livable wages and affordable health insurance without long waiting periods to be eligible."
SAMPLE CONVERSATION WITH A BOARD MEMBER Caller: "I'm calling because I'm concerned that our school support staff are working without a contract. I wanted to let you know that I hope that you settle a contract that includes livable wages and affordable health insurance without long waiting periods to be eligible."
School Board member: "Well, we do respect them, and want very much to reach a settlement. But it's a complicated process, and we have to be very careful how we spend the taxpayer's money."
Caller: "My understanding is that last year at town meeting the voters approved a six-percent increase for all support staff but the school board hasn't offered that to them. Why is that?"
School Board member: "Well, we have offered them a raise, but they also want more money for health insurance, and we have to be careful how we spend our dollars."
Caller: "I understand that what the health insurance they are asking for now is simply what all the other school employees, teachers, and administrators have."
School Board member: "Well, that's true, but it would be expensive for the district."
Caller: "We need these folks to do their jobs. They work with the kids that need the most help, and we need to make sure you keep them. I hope that you settle a contract that includes fair raises and affordable health insurance without long waiting periods to be eligible." END
What do support staff do? Hartford school support staff include paraprofessionals, custodians, tutors, maintenance, computer technology assistants, nurse's assistants, and secretaries. Many of these jobs involve working with students who need the most help. Some job duties that Hartford support staff perform include toilet training, changing diapers, hand feeding students, running study halls, working with students with special emotional, academic, and social needs, recess duty, lunch duty, making sure your child gets on the right bus, recess duty, lunch duty, cleaning up after children who get sick, keeping the schools clean and safe, mowing lawns, custodians being on call for emergencies in the middle of the night and weekends, answering the phones, helping parents with their questions, administering medications, taking temperatures, calling parents for sick children, working with students with diabetes, feeding tubes, and catheters - and much more!
How much is a six percent raise? (What the support staff have proposed)
It's about 65 cents. Even with that, many of us are still going to be well below a livable wage, but we want to get closer to it. The other big issue is health insurance. Many of us have to pay about half of the cost for a family plan, which is more than a third of our take home pay, so it makes it really unaffordable.
Can the school afford to pay more?
Well the voters approved the money for raises, so it's already there. And on health insurance, all we are asking for is what everyone else in the district already has. It's only fai
MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The support staff of the Hartford School District (consisting of secretaries, paraeducators, custodians, and computer technicians), have been attempting to negotiate a contract with the school board. So far, we have been unable to settle a contract with the School Board, which includes, among other things, a basic pay raise and health insurance.