LETTER: Support staff need livable wages

We are the classified staff of the Vashon Island School District known as the Vashon Employee Support Personnel (VESP). Who are we? We are the paraeducators, campus monitors, office managers, secretaries, athletic secretary, registrars, family advocates, math, reading, behavioral support specialists, health room assistant and ECEAP specialists. We make things run, and we love our jobs.

We have been negotiating with the school district for a contract and for equitable pay since April 2018. Yet, on Aug. 31, 2018, our formal contract ends. That means that we have no new wage settlements.

The board of the Vashon Island School District holds the purse strings. Please understand we have not had a livable wage for a very long time. During the Great Recession, we gave up any raises entirely to help the district. In actuality, now our members are forced to rely on assistance for housing, food, and daily necessities. We are losing longtime, experienced paraeducators who can no longer afford to remain and live on this island. This is a huge loss for the district and the community as we work directly with your children. Moreover, people who have dedicated their lives (10, 20 and 30 years) to working for your district receive what is now token appreciation.

Under the mandate of the McCleary Decision, we believe the legislature provided enough funding for this district to fix our abysmal pay situation. We are asking for your understanding and support in our efforts to this end.

Please support us by sending emails or letters to the VISD board.

Thank you.

— Mary Reeves,

President, VESP

More in Letters to the Editor

We need to understand the importance of Ramadan

Recent events in New Zealand and Sri Lanka remind us that horrifying… Continue reading

New editor needs support

I’m writing to welcome The Beachcomber’s new editor, Peggy Chapman, to our… Continue reading

Nonprofit for immigrant support seeks community help

I am hoping to drum up some community support for a project… Continue reading

All are welcome at Havurah for special service

Last Saturday morning, while members of our congregation studied Torah together at… Continue reading

Park District van transports Vashon elders in need

The new Park District Van will transport six clients who attend the… Continue reading

Support local forest economy

Thanks to so many islanders who have expressed their support for Vashon… Continue reading

We need energy production that doesn’t kill the planet

In the May 24 Seattle Times, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) CEO Kimberly… Continue reading

Remove the Lower Snake River dams

The Southern Resident orcas in Puget Sound are critically endangered due to… Continue reading

Let’s clean up water fountain to serve the community

I agree that the water fountain is an eyesore. but rather than… Continue reading

Make informed choices early

As our population’s longevity moves upwards, elder law has become an increasingly… Continue reading

Donated van

We already have scheduled Metro transit, Metro Access vans and two Metro… Continue reading

Freedom of the press is dying

Freedom of the press is dying in America. Julian Assange is the… Continue reading