The Imbler classified union and the Imbler School District have been negotiating since last spring for a new contract. While we have found common ground on issues, the district has been unwilling to compensate experienced staff with longevity.

These dedicated employees work hard to give students the best education and deserve fair compensation for their loyalty and experience. Like those in our community, we face rising costs for housing, groceries and necessities. We have asked the district for an increase of four steps to our salary schedule or compensation for longevity, which would encourage long-term employees to continue working to better our schools. The district is not willing to provide these steps or longevity pay.

The classified staff are the lowest paid employees in the district with an average annual salary of $18,113. The district knows that funds are available. The local tax and state aid revenues have increased in recent years, and the district provided figures showing a general fund balance of 30.7% of its revenue — five times the rate recommended by the Oregon School Board Association.

Common sense says workers who are not respected or paid a living wage will not stay on the job for long. Students need experienced and dedicated individuals who care about them — not a revolving door of new hires looking for better opportunities elsewhere. It is time to invest in our schools, students and staff. Let’s hope the Imbler School District recognizes this.

Wendy Crow

Imbler School District Classified Union Bargaining Team

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