GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. —
On Tuesday Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras presented a proposed budget for the 2021-2022 academic school year. The Guilford County Board of Education discussed the budget recommendation, totaling more than $700,000,000.
School leaders went over everything from recovering from COVID-19 learning loss recovery to pay raises.
The Guilford County Association of Educators held a press conference shortly after the meeting to address the suggested pay raises.
GCAE President Todd Warren said of the budget proposal, “The Guilford County Schools budget proposal is an excellent first step towards increasing pay for all public school employees, but more must be done. The Guilford County Commissioners will need to do significantly more than they have in past years if these pay increases are to become a reality.”
The budget recommendation includes $15 an hour pay for two major employee groups: school nutrition workers and bus drivers.
If you remember -- bus drivers were granted that raise in 2019 after an almost-walkout. But it wasn't permanent.
Speakers with the GCAE said all public school employees deserve the same amount, especially after they showed up for students every day in the middle of a pandemic.
“During the pandemic, public school employees were deemed essential,” says Ron Surgeon, a school nutrition staff member with Guilford County Schools. “As we are essential, we deserve a living wage. No one should make less than $15/hour. These are public schools. We are a vital part of this public.”
The budget proposal covered much more than raises. You can check it out here.
Dr. Sharon Contreras said raises for all could be coming in the near future, but not this budget cycle.
"There is a state increase expected that’s included in the budget but we did not ask to move the whole system at one time to $15 dollars an hour," she explained. "We aaked for two large employee groups. The others are expected to get a raise at the state level and then next year we would do the other employee groups that are not included."