St Paul, MN — School support staff and members of SEIU Local 284 praised the “Excellence in Education” package released today. The goal of the collected bills is to close the achievement gap by increasing support and equity for all school districts.
The package was released by Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield), Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury), Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Blaine), Sen. Greg Clausen (Apple Valley) and Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina).
SEIU Members issued the following statements:
On Facilities (S75 & S76)
Larry Bodnar, Custodian, ISD 724 Elk River
“When we need parking lots and roofs repaired, or carpets and boilers replaced, it would be nice to have the funding to just do it—instead we have to wait and just hope the voters approve it in the next referendum. We need to make sure all students- no matter where they live- have quality learning facilities.”
Cheryl Hegge, Custodian, ISD332, Mora
“As a custodian, I do everything I can do make the school clean and presentable- but without adequate funding it’s difficult- and the problems get worse as time goes on. A few years ago, when the roof started leaking over the service line in our cafeteria- the staff got inventive. The cafeteria staff moved service into the cafeteria using folding tables. We had a giant pot on top of the ceiling tiles that we dumped out every night when it rained and snowed. The district finally passed a referendum to fix some of these problems, but our students shouldn’t have had to wait to have adequate facilities.”
On Free Breakfast (S344)
Colleen Nocerini, Child Nutrition, ISD197 West St. Paul
“As a School Nutrition specialist, I see kids everyday who come to school hungry. Case studies have shown great improvement in both academic achievement and attendance with all school free breakfast. Making free school breakfast available for the whole state will send the message to schools and parents that we value our kids, and that their health and ability to learn are a priority to all of us.”
SEIU Local 284 represents 8700 bus drivers, paraprofessionals, food service workers, early learning employees, clerical staff and custodians throughout the state of Minnesota.