Burlington School Support Staff

Brief Background

  • Victory for livable wages!!  The Para-Educators won a contract in January guaranteeing them a livable wage, while the food service and custodial workers gained an agreement in May that gives them a livable wage.  After a three and a half year campaign the support staff at the Burlington Schools have finally gained the right to a livable wage.
  • Currently, there are many instructional assistants and para-educators, custodians and food service workers who are paid poverty level wages in the Burlington Schools. No worker should earn less than a livable wage, especially not the people who make our schools run, and as is the case of para-educators and many school support staff, play a critical role in the education of our youth.
  • For the last several years there has been a strong push to have the Burlington Schools join the City of Burlington and make it a policy that no employee should be paid less than a livable wage. Last year, the Burlington School Board voted 5-7 against adopting a livable wage policy. At that time several leaders of the School Board who voted against establishing a livable wage policy said they supported livable wages, but they thought it should wait until this year when the contracts for all of the low-paid support staff were to be negotiated. Now is the time to stop poverty wages in our schools.
  • With the campaign to establish Socio-Economic Integration in our elementary schools, the Burlington School Board has initiated a very important community-wide discussion about the impacts of poverty on students and basic principles of social equity. Yet at this same time, they continue to pay many of its own staff poverty wages. The reason that there is a growing number of children coming from families living in poverty is because a growing number of the jobs available pay poverty wages. Burlington Schools should immediately stop being one of these poverty-wage employers and help set a standard for other area employers so fewer families are living in poverty.
  • In the Equity & Excellence presentation at the May 8th School Board Meeting and available on their website, Superintendent Jeannie Collins states that we should celebrate our diversities, including our socio-economic diversity. While it is, of course, critical for us to celebrate and respect the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity in our communities, poverty is not something to be celebrated, but eliminated. Burlington Schools needs start being a leader to eliminate poverty by stopping pay poverty wages.


Sign Holders


Current Status


Talking Points

Voting Record

Fact Sheet

Report on Livable Wages in Schools

Contact Info

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Vermont Livable Wage Campaign
60 LakeStreet, Burlington, VT 05401
802.863.2345 x8 livablewage@pjcvt.org
© 2007 Vermont Livable Wage Campaign

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