To the editor,
I am Nancy Ferencko – president of the North Kingstown Educational Support Professionals, a resident of North Kingstown, a voter, a taxpayer, former PTSO member, former LINKS volunteer and a paraprofessional for 26 years. I want to tell the community that all the clerks, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, maintenance workers, mini bus drivers and former custodians have the students and their parents at heart.
Yes, we did have an informational rally on Monday, Sept. 10 at the high school from 6:15 to 6:30 a.m. I personally spoke to Superintendent Phil Auger, Assistant Superintendent Michele Humbyrd and Ms. Debbie Gardiner from HR on Friday morning. I assured them that we would be having an informational rally, not a strike, or work stoppage. There was no need to call off school or delay the busses, and we were gone before the first bus pulled into the high school.
We must keep the momentum going to show our support and unity to our custodians who were fired for no purpose except for economics. These 26 custodians and their families are now devastated. The . Now the custodians are making one-third less the amount of their salaries, placing them on the poverty level. Some of the custodians have already resigned from GCA because of the working conditions.
Our school department employees complimented each other in their particular positions, which made this school district exemplary. Each section of teachers, paraprofessionals, etc. made a spoke in a wheel that spun flawlessly. Now that the custodians’ spoke has been taken away, the wheel is losing its strength and will crumble eventually. We had a wonderful working atmosphere where the teachers and custodians anticipated each other’s needs, and special requests were done with little or no effort. Our students benefited from the smooth operation.
Our ESP negotiating team has been trying to get a fair contract with the custodians included since May 2011. The school committee imposed mediation then arbitration on us. When the arbitrator’s decision was made, the .
I am asking you to email or call the superintendent and the North Kingstown School Committee members and tell them that you want the custodians back on the school department’s payroll. As a parent, taxpayer and voter, I want our town to be recognized as the best school system for the children in Rhode Island. I expect new families to want to settle in North Kingstown because all of us care about our students.
President of North Kingstown Educational Support Professionals