NESPA at Board Meeting
Many Naperville Education Support Professionals Association (NESPA) union members came out to yesterday’s Naperville School District 203 board meeting for public comment. The union of around 600 members has been in negotiations with District 203 for a new contract since April. The main request of the union is more pay.
Members noted how neighboring school districts are paying more, some have had to get a second job or are thinking of getting a second job, and others are considering leaving their jobs at the district. According to the district’s job employment page, there are currently 72 support staff positions open.
“Our students are making more than us, it’s embarrassing,” said Danielle Nolan, a campus supervisor at Naperville North High School. “I have to hide what I do because they’re constantly rattling off about how they’re making so much money and I can barely pay my bills sometimes.”
“How can I help a student problem solve, stay on task or calm a meltdown if I’m stressed about keeping a roof over my head and food on my table?” said Caitlin Swinford, a paradeducator at Naperville Central High School.
NESPA includes support staff like teacher assistants, special education assistants, campus supervisors, and health techs. The union and district are now in mediation, and staff has continued to work under an expired contract. The two sides will be meeting tomorrow and Thursday to continue negotiations.
“We appreciate the patience of our staff and our community as we work together to achieve a contract with our NESPA staff that is both financially responsible and indicative of the value we place on our District 203 staff members,” said District 203 Board President Kristin Fitzgerald.
Earlier this year, the board and teachers union, Naperville Unit Education Association, had been working on reaching an agreement for a new contract. The contract was approved in September. The full board of education meeting can be viewed here.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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