The Blair Community Schools Board of Education earlier this month unanimously approved wage increases for classified staff, including paraprofessionals, after a report showed the district fell significantly below schools of similar size in pay.
Some staff members who have more than 20 years of experience were barely making more than the starting wage in other schools.
Paraprofessionals received a $3 per hour increase, raising the starting wage from around $9 to $12.
The low wages were becoming a concern as it had become difficult to fill positions.
As of Jan. 13, the district had eight open paraprofessional positions. The district hadn't received any applications either.
According to one school official, there had been one candidate previously interviewed. But, due to the low wage, that candidate couldn't accept as their current job offered more money.
The issue had become a concern for parents.
“With the constant turnover, it's just not good for our kids, it's not good for our teachers,” parent Bridget Aschoff told the board. “That's when they're going to start experiencing burnout.”
The board's decision to approve the pay increase shows its commitment to its students, its staff and quality education. Without these valuable individuals who give their time and effort, the children's education would suffer. They should be compensated fairly.