HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Staff at the state’s largest public school district say they need better working conditions.
Hartford public school unions gathered at a board meeting on Tuesday to highlight the issues.
Security guards, secretaries, teachers and other school staff gathered to bring their concerns to the school board.
As contract negotiations resume, staff members say they need the district to work with them on major issues.
âI just feel like our voices are not being heard,â Tiffany Moyer said.
Hartford school staff say they are overwhelmed, underpaid and unappreciated.
Teachers, nurses, security guards and para-educators send a united message to their school board.
âUnions that represent their staff need to be treated better if they are to keep staff,â said Carol Gale, president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers.
Unions demand affordable health insurance, safe work environments and expanded professional growth.
A major issue is better remuneration.
âWe are changing the 7-in-1 diapers with the students in person, but we haven’t had an increase in over six years,â said paraprofessional Laura Panel.
“We have police officers who have three to four jobs to make ends meet at home for their families,” Davie Velez, president of the special police union.
Some union representatives say they have also spent years without a contract.
âSchool nurses have been working without a contract since 2018. It’s expired,â said Shevaun Russell, a representative for school nurses.
“Over the past seven years, without a contract, we are still here to show that we care about this community,” said Grace Figueroa, vice-president of the special police union.
Negotiations for the Hartford Federation of Teachers begin in several weeks, but for the other unions, it is on hold.
School staff believe conditions are contributing to a shortage and impacting students.
“It feels like the conditions in our schools are not positive and not improving,” said teacher Lindsey Glick.
Council members did not comment on today’s rally or demands, but Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez discussed the staffing shortage.
âThe team is working with the head of schools and his team to develop a school-by-school emergency plan to respond to vacancies,â added Torres-Rodriguez.
Another problem is the financing of the Cares law.
The teachers’ union says the district has not considered their ideas about federal money and that they would like to see the money reallocated.
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