Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

BETHEL: Pay disparities in school district

Letter by patricia eaton, tacoma on Sep. 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm with 28 Comments »
September 12, 2012 2:02 pm

I’m writing to bring to light the disparity between the Bethel School District employees and the managers, assistant managers, head of facilities, etc.

We classified employees – custodial, food service, maintenance workers, para-educators – were all cut way back due to a shortage of money. We have not gotten one cost-of-living increase in five years, we have not gotten one penny of a raise. In fact, lots of people lost their jobs, and 220-day people were cut back to 180 days. We now have a huge workload.

We just learned that the managers each got an additional 10 days vacation! I guess they thought the peons wouldn’t find out. We know where to dig into the board minutes; it’s public information!

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. Ortingmom says:

    I guess you may need to head to a school district which will treat you better.

  2. least your working

  3. cclngthr says:


    Be glad you have a job.

    Keep up with the complaints; whoever pays you; and in your (and my) case, that is the taxpayers, you might find yourself out of a job.

  4. Scottc51 says:

    Right, Ortingmom. If the fish ain’t biting, move the boat.

  5. Pierce Transit is getting ready to fire everyone under 14 years when the levy fails, be thankful you are still employed!

  6. My bus driver will be looking for you to work as school bus driver when PT fires her!

  7. Fibonacci says:

    You all missed the point. The main complaint was not the lack of raise, it was the lack of raise while those in admin got perks.

  8. The new American Business Model – All for the top and screw the workers.

  9. took14theteam says:

    Last I looked, a School District was a Government run BUSINESS. And USUALLY a DEMOCRAT entity. Looks like xring is slamming the government now….

  10. spotted1 says:

    Far easier to blame the worker than the boss. I mean, why actually address the issue when you can just criticize the worker for not finding a better place to work.

  11. sandblower says:

    The complaint is what unions are for.

  12. If you are looking for a real story about Bethel (or I’ll guess every district), look into how many administrators there are…incredible.

  13. thewestside says:

    If you don’t like it quit. Go work somewhere else.

  14. spotted1 says:

    And this is why people who want to make changes, who feel they have run out of options, leave organizations to go somewhere else. Everyone tells them “suck it up” rather than saying, “yeah, this is a problem that should be addressed”. Keep this in mind the next time you bring forth a problem and someone says, “deal with it” and ignores you.

    Patricia, thank you for bringing this issue to the publics attention. I hope that something changes in the district for you.

  15. I guess all the peon need to remember this next time the school super is up for election… By the way you’ll lose a lot more if McKenna get’s elected because he blames state employees for the budget crisis.

  16. MyBandito says:

    Patricia- Writing an LTE will get you nowhere. This crowd wants you to work for peanuts (or less) so that their tax bill doesn’t go up. You and your co-workers need to stick together and speak with one loud voice through your representative. You need to help those get elected who understand your plight and are willing to at least see that you don’t fall behind due to the increasing cost of living. The court of public opinion is not on the side of the working class.

  17. blakeshouse says:

    Keep blathering comrade. Shows everyone which side of right/wrong you are on. Once Charter schools become the needed reality that they are try and get a job.

  18. alindasue says:


    Charter schools are not the anti-union cure-all that many of you seem to think they are. A good many of the teachers at them are unionized.

    The National Right To Work Legal Defense Fund site, in their attempt to convince charter school teachers of their “rights” not to join a union pointed out:

    “The unionization of charter schools is increasing at a rapid rate, having increased 444 percent in the last decade (2001-10) over the previous decade (1992-2000). However, the actual number or percentage of unionized charter schools varies greatly from state to state. During the 2009-10 school year, 24 of the 40 states with charter schools had a least one charter school that had a bargaining agreement with a union. All of the charter schools in Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, and Maryland were unionized, along with 171 in Wisconsin, 122 in California, and 42 in Ohio. These unionized schools constitute 72 percent of the unionized charter schools in the country.”

    The whole unionized charter school teacher issue came to my attention last week when I was looking up something else having to do with charter schools and stumbled on a couple articles about a union settlement at a group of charter schools.

    There’s no doubt, teachers at charter schools here would be paid on a scale comparable to public school teachers – or they would unionize like so many around this country already have. That does leave the question though: If charter school teachers are not “public employees”, is it still “illegal” for them to strike?

    Anyhow, the point I am making with all of this is that if the main reason that some of you support (or are actively fighting for) charter schools is because it would rid schools of the evil “union influence”, you may want to look at the issue again. There are many valid points on both sides of the charter schools issue – and I’m still deciding how I will vote – but union issues are not one of them. If you get charter schools, you’ll still have to deal with unions.

  19. mcaguitars says:

    “220-day people were cut back to 180 days”

    So, you’re working 40 days less each year for the same annual income and you’re looking for pity?


  20. This LTE vocalizes a very real misconception, one that unskilled blue collar workers rarely understand: While they can be replaced with common laborers wandering the streets looking for work, a highly skilled manager is activly sought after by firms trying to hire top performers.

    It sounds very “equalitarian” to say unskilled workers should earn as much as management, but it’s not very practical. One makes the plans, the other simply completes the work, then goes home.

    This is perhaps the greatest failure of the unions, in that they tend to protect unproductive or incompetent employees, and prevent other, more competent workers from being rewarded with higher pay or better benefits.


  21. To mcaguitars

    Classified employees are hourly employees, which means that the cutback from 220 to 180 days is an 18% cut in annual pay.

  22. LeePHilI says:

    “thewestside says:
    Sep. 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm If you don’t like it quit. Go work somewhere else.”

    I just picked this comment from a collection of similar comments from CONS.

    If that line of thinking was what was used in the past 200 years in America, people would still be working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for miniscule wages.

    Don’t speak your mind in America, you won’t be marching to the corporate drums.

  23. I wasnt saying that Im unhappy with my job! I understand the needed cuts, totally! Im just saying , if we all dont get a raise than no one should! Thats all!

  24. 5 days per week times 52 weeks per year = 220 days per year = full time employment.

    Except for custodial and maintenance people, most classified workers only get paid for the 180 days when school is in secession and kids are actually in school.

    However, like teachers classified workers may request their pay be prorated and paid over a 12 month period.

    Dardena, nothing in the letter. or posted comments, says anything about paying classified workers the same as mangers.

    As in the 60’s the conservacon rant is ‘American! Love It or Leave It’

    Poppop, excellent point, but totally lost to right wingers.

  25. MyBandito says:

    Quite often supervision will be rewarded when they’re instrumental in keeping the peons from getting increases.

    10 days vacation for managers doesn’t add cost to the school district.

  26. commoncents says:

    While I agree with Poppop in that if staff doesn’t get raises for extended periods of time then supervision should not be getting them either. However, Bandito accurately points out that in this specific case we are talking about vacation balance increases which may or may not be in lieu of pay increases. It’s poor form but not as big a deal. It’s an action taken by many office employees around the country and I must add…one that I’ve done myself.

  27. MyBandito says:

    Yet if Patricia and her coworkers were given the same paid vacation time it would have added cost to the district.

    Something to think ponder.

  28. MyBandito says:

    Something to ponder.
    Something to think about.

    proofread, proofread, proofread!

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