Pay Cost of Living Allowance to Medford After School Staff

Pay Cost of Living Allowance to Medford After School Staff

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Brooks After School Parents started this petition to Medford School Committee and

Dear Ms. Fidler-Carey and Members of the Medford School Committee,


We are the parents of children attending the After School programs in Medford. Many parents have been with the program since its inception and we have noticed a distinct change during the 2018-2019 school year. We are writing to bring these issues to light so they may be addressed resolved in time for the 2019-2020 school year.


The After School programs have always been organized, well-run and staffed with caring and qualified staff. They create engaging activities and deal with discipline issues by addressing the underlying issues and focusing on making amends. There has always been a high demand for its services because we could trust that our children were being well taken care of while we work.


However, there has been a distinct change this school year that has negatively impacted the children who attend. Last year Superintendent Belson accepted all families who requested spots. This opened up the program but they did not hire enough staff to meet this increased demand. Our tuition more than covers costs and it is important that we find and retain qualified staff, and that the budget is available for parents to see.


The Brooks After School has been chronically understaffed this year.

- There is no third grade teacher
- The fourth and fifth grade was combined when they could not hire a substitute for the teacher who was out on medical leave.
- There is not enough staff on hand to adequately cover staff absences.

After school teachers are district employees. It is a low-paying, part-time job and most of them work several part time jobs to survive. They have been placed in a situation where they have too many children without the benefit of a background in education.


These issues of salary and lack of education are compounded by overcrowding, which has a direct impact on the quality of care, as well as staff morale and turnover. It is important that we, the parents, support the staff of the After School program. The program has not been able to retain the wonderful teachers they had, and this year all of the teachers are part-time. This lack of consistency creates issues with class management, behavior expectations, and staff attendance. Teachers have been forced to combine classes, leading to frustration among staff and unsafe conditions for our kids.


Furthermore, Medford has denied our four After School teachers a 2% cost of living allowance. The cost is minimal, but the message is clear: They are not valued. This has a direct impact on our children, because when staff are not valued with a living wage and reasonable job requirements, they do not value the job.  This may come out in a multitude of ways, including on the job frustration, calling in sick, and problems with retention/overall staffing issues. Although the tuition we pay has increased, and the amount of kids in the program has also grown, this increase in funding is not being passed on to create new jobs and to provide a living wage to the people who care for our children.


We request the following:

- To see the budget to ensure that the tuition charged is sufficient to cover the costs incurred. If our tuition is being increased, the people caring for our children should benefit. That is what we are paying for. The tuition we pay should only go to the After School program and to directly benefit our children.

 - To hire enough full time staff to ensure adequate coverage of all classes, and to account for absenteeism.

- To offer a wage high enough to attract and retain qualified staff.

- To offer the same 2% cost of living allowance that is being paid to other district employees.

This is a structural issue that needs to be addressed at the district level, as the issues we are facing at the Brooks Elementary are also happening at the other elementary schools in Medford.


We look forward to a successful resolution of this matter.


Regards,


Brooks Afterschool Parents

 

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