Is it about pay, is it respect or is it both? There is no doubt that our classified staff needs to be paid more, but are they getting the respect they deserve? The NCAE calls classified personnel Education Support Personnel,classified employee sounds so sterile, so give them a classification title that is worthy of the important work they do. That work deserves to be recognized and respected. While they may be doing most of the hands on work outside of the classroom, they take pride in what they do and how they do it. Their employers and certified professional staff should not be treating them as anything less than the valuable partners they are.
Each member of our hourly staff makes a significant contribution to our children’s education. They are feeding them, maintaining their buildings, directly helping them in the classroom,or members of our critically short staffed transportation personnel. Part of the respect they deserve for that work is a living wage. Does a gross paycheck of $400 a week make ends meet for a family of 3 or 4? Maybe in West Virginia or Mississippi, but not in Wilmington, NC! Raise their pay to $15 per hour and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. If NHCS’ administration would do this, perhaps that critical shortage of bus drivers will improve.