Letter to the Editor: I am tired of feeling like I don't matter

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To the Editor:

Shoreline School District has shut down contract negotiations with SESPA members, instead adopting a "take it or leave it attitude" with an offer that includes cuts to nurses, library techs, and security guards.

Our superintendent, Sue Walker was just given a pay raise of over $8000 and our deputy superintendent, Marcia Harris was given a bonus of almost $10,000.

It appears that the Shoreline School District will have an ending fund balance of 10 million dollars in August.

I have been a paraeducator at Echo Lake Elementary School for 11 years. I am tired of feeling like what I do doesn’t matter to the administrators of Shoreline School District. To me, this is not about money-it’s about feeling like I have a value, like I am making a difference.

I actually have more hours now than I’ve ever had, but it is the makeup of those hours that disturbs me. 4 years ago, I had 4 “permanent” special ed hours. At the end of that school year, I was told that 2 of those hours would be taken away. The interesting thing is that those 2 hours were quickly replaced by “temporary” hours. Nice for the district because those hours always start at the lowest pay scale, no matter how many years a person has worked for the district.

During the next 3 years, my “permanent” hours have been reduced to 1-¼ “permanent” hours.

I am tired of having my “permanent” hours carved away bit by bit. I am grateful that I still have hours, even “temporary” ones, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason for this yearly chipping away at hours except to save the school district money on the backs of the lowest paid employees.

Our district is one of the best, and what makes it one of the best is our nurses, our library techs, our paraeducators, …..ALL of our classified staff. Who cares if other districts don’t have the staffing we have? Shouldn’t the other districts try to be like the Shoreline School District, rather than us trying to be like them?

Mary Lauch


Jeanne Ryan,  July 23, 2010 at 7:29 AM  

It comes down to "what do we value?" Which school district employees touch children's lives directly? Shouldn't they be acknowledged frequently and generously both in word and wages?

I went to Catholic grade school and certainly don't remember who the archdiocesan school superintendent was back in the day. But, 45 years later, I do joyously recall Mrs. Melmavick, the first grade teacher's assistant, and the impact she had on my life.

Thank you, Mary Lauch and other Shoreline School District paraeducators, nurses and library techs, for all that you do for our kids!

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