TUSD approves increases for bus drivers and special education teaching assistants
TUCSON (KVOA) – The Tucson Unified School District board has approved increases for some employees in the district.
These employees will earn several dollars more per hour next year. According to Tucson Education Association president Margaret Chaney, this is a step in the right direction. However, she said it should only be the start.
Bus drivers who take TUSD students to and from school every day will see an increase from $ 12.39 per hour to $ 16 per hour starting in July.
“They are carriers of learners, without them our children and youth do not come through school doors,” said Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo. “It is a vital position which is operationally crucial for the district. In recent years we have struggled.”
Trujillo said it has been a struggle because in recent years TUSD has been overtaken by neighboring districts offering better money to drivers.
Trujillo said if the school board had not approved the increases, the retention rate could have fallen further, leaving fewer drivers and buses on the road to pick up and drop off your children.
“We will have roads closed because we cannot transport children,” Trujillo said. “This is serious. We have to act.”
District special education teacher assistants will also receive a $ 15 per hour increase.
Chaney said it was a critical decision, but the increases should go to more district employees.
“We would rather everyone see an increase at the same time rather than piecemeal here and there,” she said. “We understand that some jobs require a certain salary to start just because they are really in desperate need.”
Chaney said the union she leads has a firm belief that all TUSD classified staff deserve more.
“We would like people to come with a living wage so that they can be retained year after year,” said the president of TEA. “We want our seasoned employees to be rewarded for their loyalty and for a job well done.”
All of this is happening as budget talks continue in Phoenix. These discussions include Arizona’s education budget for the next year.
It starts in a few weeks on July 1st.
“When funding is limited and your opportunities are limited, my position is always to inform our board of directors of the needs,” said Trujillo.