The JESPA bargaining team has met with the district twice for long sessions and have shares our vision for thriving schools. JESPA has made our priorities clear: Staffing, Benefits and Wages.
- $20/hr starting wages (additional $3.00 COLA for all)
- Increased full-time jobs with benefits
- Percentage based insurance premiums – More paid by district
- Paraeducator for every IEP
- Paraprofessionals for every teacher
- Bus assistants for every bus
- Clarity around open positions
- Closing longevity gaps in steps and increasing top pay
- No more outsourcing!
Chronic understaffing plagues the district, and JESPA members have come together to demand solutions. So far, we’ve seen the district take some tangible steps to repair the broken relationship with JESPA but we will continue to grow our power and fight until we have the wages, benefits, and working conditions members deserve. Actions speak louder than words.
After two long sessions we aren’t entirely sure of the district team’s agenda other than extending the probationary period for new employees and changing the hiring process. Their proposal on making the probationary period longer includes nothing about how to onboard, train, and support new employees so we can KEEP them in the district, which is the real problem. Instead the district wants to figure out ways to make more employees completely at-will for longer, a negative approach that doesn’t include any solutions to staffing.
We should be spending our time finding solutions to the real issues. Instead the district’s practices have exacerbated the staffing crisis:
- Advertising the temporary, sub jobs instead of permanent career-based jobs.
- Advertising positions at the wrong pay rate.
- Starting pay is too low, finding people means they are starting with no experience at a higher rate than some current employees who have experience
- Advertising 2 and 3 hour positions for paras instead of the full-time jobs with benefits we heard about in the vision for Thriving Schools
- Constant cuts year after year to hours and positions by principals when raises are secured and in discrimination of long term, dedicated employees.
- Declining quality in health insurance plans and higher premiums. Constantly questioning why JESPA members want better and more affordable health insurance and pushing back hard on shopping for health insurance.
Next sessions are March 30th and April 17th – we are focusing in-person turnout on April 17th because it is an evening session!
Commit to show our strength in numbers: https://actionnetwork.org/events/jespa-bargaining-respect-for-esps/