Health Aides and Paraeducators Petition for a Raise


Wednesday at JESPA bargaining, 30 health aides and paraeducators presented petitions for reclassification of their jobs to Student Success Officer Matt Palaoro, head of Health Services and Special Education.


Paraeducator Nicole Pastore (Blue Heron Elementary School), health aide Lorraine Barnes (D’EvelynJr./Sr. High School), and district RN Marian Boyle gave passionate speeches regarding the unrecognized responsibilities paraeducators and health aides take on. They are hoping to convince the district to take reclassification seriously.


This was the second public action that health aides have taken, and it forced HR to respond to their request immediately after bargaining. Health Aides had presented petitions to the Board of Education at their meeting last week.

Chief of Human Resources Jen Jones responded to the health aides’ petition in an email. She will be considering the request and will be responding in the future.

Jeffco parent and Brady Exploration High School health aide Teagan Anderson said afterward, “I and other health aides across the district are paid below the Colorado poverty line. We deserve a livable wage for the work we do. We appreciate Jen Jones’ response, but in the meantime many HAs are in poverty, so we need action now.”

Paraeducators across the district stress that the funds used to pay outsourced contractors should instead be invested in professionals who want to be Jeffco employees. Retaining in-house paraeducators is essential for strengthening the consistency of care and education for high-needs students.

Speaking on behalf of the paraeducator committee who helped draft and collect signatures on this petition, Nicole Pastore from Blue Heron Elementary stated, “While we appreciate the acknowledgment from Matt, we urge the district to take immediate action to address the pressing issues outlined in our petition. My students’ education and well-being, as well as the well-being of my fellow coworkers, depend on it.”

Both groups are preparing for district’s response, knowing that their action is a big step in the right direction toward having their jobs reclassified to better reflect their responsibilities with an appropriate pay grade.

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