Northwest NEWS

January 17, 2000


School district employees deserve the best

   I was saddened by the tone of a letter that appeared recently denouncing school district employees. The writers were unhappy that January 3rd was a vacation day in the Riverview School District and accused the school board of "caving in" to employees who "want to reinforce how 'special' they are."

   I don't know who instructs, supervises, drives, nurses, sings with, feeds, makes individual educational plans for, directs, coaches, paints with, encourages, and cleans up after the writers' children.

   I have three children in this district. My children's teachers, bus drivers, lunch staff, principal, secretaries, program directors, nurses, librarians, custodians, and playground supervisors are special. They work on their feet all day long and their day doesn't end when (and if) they go home at 5 p.m. If they are teachers, they stay up until 10 p.m. correcting papers and making lesson plans. During those long, luxurious summers, they pay for continuing education classes out of their own pockets. They buy extra classroom materials with their own money, too.

   I know. I was once a teacher. Teacher salaries should show us that nothing but love for our kids keeps educators in these jobs. They could make two to three times as much in the corporate world, especially with our current high employment rate. Indeed, we lose many good teachers and staff to corporations every year.

   To my knowledge, schools are required to be in session 180 days a year. How those days are arranged around vacation time is up to the district. I have never felt vacations are scheduled to "exist for the convenience of the workers."

   I actually enjoy having my kids around. The schools are not babysitters--they are our partners in the crucial task of bringing up enlightened, ethical, and educated citizens.

   So thank you to all the school district employees who touch my children's lives in so many ways. You deserve all the best you can get.

Katherine G. Bond