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posted: 10/2/2017 5:00 AM

ESPA talks with District 15 about respect as much as about money

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Recently, there have been articles written regarding the current status of contract negotiations between District 15 and the ESPA, comprised of secretarial, clerical and nursing staff.

Few details about what is actually at stake for ESPA members were included. These professionals are the backbone of our schools. They are the front line to the safety and running of our schools and all have passed background checks.

ESPA also includes program assistants/paraprofessionals, many of whom are certified teachers. These professionals work alongside teachers on a daily basis, lowering the teacher/student classroom ratio. These professionals work with children faced with reading challenges and special needs children in self-contained as well as regular classrooms. They monitor your children in the lunchroom and playground.

These professionals love your children; clearly it is not solely about money, as most of the starting salaries are around $11/hour.

It is about being treated as a professional with equitable benefits, benefits that were freely given in recent negotiations. Will the district attract qualified people for part time, temporary positions? I invite you to review the D15 website for current employment opportunities that remain unfilled.

Is it in your best interest to have temporary or part-time employees administering meds to your diabetic and asthmatic children? Would temporary or part time employees be effective with your special needs children?

These professionals are nurturing the children of our future. As a single parent (widowed) and property owner in District 15, I am very aware of the impact of property taxes.

I also think it not unreasonable to have these professionals receive a livable wage and benefits. This is an opportunity for the board to show they value those invested in our children's future.

Learn more about the proposals by both sides at https://sites.google.com/view/district15espa/home. If you believe these professionals should receive a fair contract, please contact board members.

Marla J. DeNatale

Palatine

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