LA QUINTA – “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” That’s what hundreds of school staff members here in the Valley are doing.
California’s budget crisis cut $28 million from Desert Sands Unified School District with hundreds of school workers getting pink slips. Thirty-five of those who got laid off are classified employees, which are non-teaching jobs like nurses, bus drivers, and office workers.
“[A classified employees is anybody] behind the scenes putting the education process into place,” says Cindy McDaniel, DSUSD Business Services Assistant Superintendent.
Those who survived the budget cuts decided to take a pay cut for the 2009-2010 school year to save other jobs.
“A 1.75% cut off the top of the salary is minimal compared to other people’s lives and livelihoods,” says Lee.
“Depending on where they are on the salary schedule, it could be $50 less a month to $150 less a month,” says McDaniel.
Between management and classified staff, the voluntary pay cut will save the district more than $600,000 for next year. That’s enough to keep all of the 35 employees who wouldn’t been without a job.
“It’s a great deal. We had to give up but we gained, too,” says Lee.
The budget crisis is a big weight for teachers, staff members, programs and students. But with everyone sharing the load, it makes the burden lighter.
“It was just awesome to see people come together this way,” says Lee.