Monday, July 5, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Equitable \ˈe-kwə-tə-bəl\, adj.: dealing fairly and equally with all concerned

Oh we've heard members of the school board and administration wax prophetically (and ad nauseam) about how they value their employees. And in how they treat all their employees fairly, as evidenced by the former Birthday KitKat bar (since replaced with the Birthday Granola Bar). And of course, let's not forget about memorial flowers should any employee suffer the loss of a family member.

So...all employees are treated "equitably"...right?

The Sun Prairie Areas School District operates as a mini caste system, with Administrators clearly on top of the pecking order, and Local 60 (Support Staff) mired in the murky bottom. When it comes to contracts, Local 60 has clearly been fed the scraps after administrators, administrative support, and teachers have feasted like kings. In many ways, it could be said that the niceties bestowed upon these other groups are balanced by taking away from Local 60.

Finance Committee Citizen Representative Pastor Harold Rayford spoke loudly and clearly that the district should pay staff well since this is "a growing " school district and because we want to provide the best education possible. Either Pastor Rayford doesn't believe that Local 60 staff are part of that education equation, or maybe he just didn't know how inequitable the situation was.
This is going to be a very difficult year for wage adjustments. The teachers union has already been addressed through a 2-year contract signed last year. But what about raises for those hard-working Administrators? Administrative Support staff. Oh...wait...and what about Local 60, whose contract expired July 1? Are we once again going to pay the top of the caste and stiff the lowly Local 60?

More to the point:
When are we going to provide the same benefits at the same cost to each employee?

In state government (sorry, Seabass!) ALL permanent employees are afforded the same benefits, at the same cost. Why should it be so different for school district employees. Teachers may teach the kids, but custodial staff ensure that they teach in a clean environment. Food service staff make sure that the kids have a proper source of nutrition. And we know that without proper nutrition, learning is unlikely to occur.


Dear School Board...

Al Slane offered a challenge to you recently. We offer you a different one. We challenge you to create an equitable health insurance co-pay system. We realize you cannot reduce Local 60's share overnight. Nor can you bring the other groups' co-pays up to Local 60's level in one fell swoop.

What you MUST do is (1) identify the target percentage of health insurance costs which EACH employee shall pay (Hint, Hint: perhaps use other district contracts as a guide) and then (2) develop a plan to get there as quickly as possible.