First published in the March 12 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Thank you for publishing the letter from Anna Nelson titled “Education Must Be a Priority.”
On a positive note, teachers and classified staff received a 5% raise, but Ana’s letter inspired me to continue the conversation because even with this raise there are some classified staff still at the bottom rungs of the pay scale ladder.
Last Thursday night, I went to City Hall; I was prepared to say my speech about the inequity of the job study and about the unfair circumstances of the custodians. When I got there, I noticed that it was very quiet inside the room compared to the last time I was there. Then, a teacher’s rally was in attendance.
At that time, I was able to say my speech right away, before the board members discussed their business matters. But this time, I was told I had to wait until they were done with their business. I decided to wait — it was an hour and a half wait.
In the meantime, Roberto, a custodian, came and sat near me on the same row. Roberto said that he comes once a month to talk to the school board.
Finally, I said my speech in the hope that a few school board members would glean something from it. My speech can be heard if you go to the BUSD website and view the board meeting on March 3. But I got only one comment, about equity, that a board member echoed back in his comments. I was thankful for that comment! But I didn’t get any response regarding what I discussed about the custodians.
First of all, custodians are the backbone of our school district. They had worked during the pandemic, while most staff worked at home. There are no subs for them, so when a custodian is absent, the other custodians must work twice as hard to keep up.
Custodians are at the same pay range since they’ve been hired, going back 25 years. Even with the 5% raise, all classified members still remain within their pay range. Custodians feel dismayed and disheartened that they can’t get out of their poverty-level pay range.
As the minimum wage keeps increasing, custodian pay range moves closer to it. Taco Bell and Target’s starting pay is much, much more than what BUSD pays its custodians.
The custodians need help!