By Jazlyn Mercer, NDG Staff
The Dallas ISD (DISD) school board met March 22 for a regular agenda meeting. During the public forum of non-agenda items, many DISD support staff members came forward to be persistent about a wage increase.
The support staff has asked before at previous meetings; however, the board has not addressed their concerns.
Shawna Washington, an administrative assistant at the Northeast Maintenance Quadrant, urged the board to make it their priority to give support staff a three percent wage increase. She went on to tell the board and community members about how support staff are the lowest paid employees, often resulting in the employees forced to work multiple jobs.
“In many cases, these employees are single parents with children who attend schools, here in DISD, when we consider paying DISD employees a livable wage we must consider both the employees and the example we are setting for other districts to model,” Washington said.
Rosario Zamudio, a teacher assistant at Nathanial Hawthorne, also stood up to speak at the public forum. She, too, urged the board to make compensation for support staff a top priority in next years’ budget. She believes the same respect should be given to all employees of all levels in the district.
“You may say we sound like a broken record, but to be fair, support employees have been promised and left out when it comes to compensation for the last couple of years. We are taking home less every year because of increase premiums, yet we still show up and do our jobs because the kids are worth it,” said Zamudio.
With the support staff that represented DISD at the school board meeting, other organizations joined with them in support of an increased compensation for DISD support staff. A member of the American Federations of Teachers (AFT), and members of the Democratic Socialist of America, the North Texas chapter, voiced support for improved pay for the staff.
Andrew Kirk, a member of AFT as well as a DISD teacher, believes the DISD support staff is underpaid, yet they are a necessity for the district.
“They do a lot of work that isn’t recognized, and I think that there pay should be commensurate with the value that they generate for the schools. I think the schools work because they do,” said Kirk.