Classified staff deserve more | Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: The following Letter to the Editor is a copy of an email that was sent to the Renton School Board Aug. 9 following the Aug. 8 board meeting.

Good evening to you all,

I really wanted to be at the board meeting yesterday but after working for eight hours unpacking four pallets of school supplies in 90 degree heat with broken air conditioning, I simply could not stand in heat for hours more.

You see, I have multiple sclerosis and I only have so much energy in a day. While I try to manage it as best I can, they are certain stressors that are hard for anyone to handle that exacerbate it.

Like when I have parents in my office yelling at me, or kids in my office cussing at me, or kids requiring a 911 call for their health emergencies, or demands from KEC that can be completely overwhelming.

Rarely do I do anything after work except go home and rest, so I can be the best office manager I can be for both the staff and the students the next day.

Where I am finding it hard to replenish myself emotionally is in how deeply insulted I feel by the way the Renton School District has clearly shown they do not care about me. Offering a measly 3.1 percent raise to Classified Staff is beyond discouraging.

They won’t even give us money that someone else wants to give us. They do not have to come up with this money, the state is giving it to them for our salaries, and yet even then they feel we are not worth it.

I started back to the work force in 2001, after staying home and raising my kids for 15 years. I have four kids that have gone through the Renton School District who have become an English teacher with a Masters in ELL and a Masters in administration, a Senior Insurance Claims analyst with a double major in Accounting and Business, a Game Warden with a major in law enforcement and a minor in Psych and my youngest who has one year of schooling left to become a Music Teacher.

This is a great reflection on the education they have gotten from this district, don’t you think?

Who do you think helped them along the way?

The classified staff helped them. Teachers can’t be everywhere and do everything.

We are valuable. We make a difference. We are worthwhile.

My first job was three hours in a computer overload class at Nelsen with Becca Ritchie, who we have recently lost to the Kent School District. I worked my way up to become the secretary for the short lived but very successful and meaningful Renton Alternative Middle School and then became the office manager at Bryn Mawr.

I have been with the district for 17 years of my life. I have always been grateful for this job. I am good at my job, and at this point am one of the senior office managers in the district. I am the highest paid Classified Staff member in our building. The next highest spoke at the last board meeting telling everyone how she lives on a mere $2,000 per month. All the other classified staff make far less than her.

Yet our district demands they all be highly qualified.

How anyone can say that we do not deserve this pay is unfathomable to me. How could we not deserve it?

The state has declared this money for our salaries and yet for some reason our district is refusing to do so.

I am ashamed of the decisions that our district is making on this. If they stand by the decision to not give us what is our due, we will be literally the lowest paid district in the state.

Where is the equity and access for the staff of this district?

Shame on those making these decisions, and shame on you if you abide with them.

Move The Decimal!

Leighanna Greshock

Office Manager

Bryn Mawr Elementary