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RAISE APPROVED FOR SOME SCHOOL WORKERS

After several years, the Lockport School District's seasonal employees and cafeteria monitors are getting a raise.

Board member Allen W. Jack said the raises will go to employees who have worked for the district at least one full year while newly hired employees would still receive the old hourly pay rates.

The School Board has approved raising the hourly rate for second-year seasonal laborers from $5.46 to $5.67, a 21-cent per hour increase, while new employees are paid the old rate of $5.46 per hour. Those in their third year as seasonal laborers saw their pay jump to $5.95 an hour, a rate that's now being paid to anyone who has worked more than two full years in that capacity.

The changes went into effectJuly 1.

There are 34 seasonal laborers working for the school district this summer. They mow lawns, trim bushes and perform other outdoor work. Many work from May through mid-August.

Cafeteria monitors who watch out for pupils during breakfast and lunch periods at district elementary and middle schools, and have already worked for the district for a full year in that capacity, will see their pay rate go up 27 cents an hour when they return to work in September. The rate will increase from $8.42 to $8.69 per hour. First-year monitors will still receive the old $8.42 rate.

The district has about 60 lunch monitors and 17 work in the breakfast program.

The board upped the pay rates after Jack told board members the raises were important because the part-time employees provide the district important services and deserve some recognition.

"These are people at the lowest end of the pay scale and haven't had a raise in five years. These people are always forgotten. Everyone else gets their raises. All the unions. Everybody. But these poor people don't get anything and have no union to speak up for them," Jack said.

He was supported in that effort by Board President W. Keith McNall who contended, "It's the right thing to do."

Jack also said the district needed to raise the pay for summer laborers, mostly college and high school students, because the pay was so low the district has been having problems recruiting enough help to do the outdoor work.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com