The Redlands Education Support Professionals Association (RESPA) took to the Redlands Unified School District meeting to ask for an amended living wage on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
RESPA which includes employees of the school district such as custodians, technicians, office managers and nutrition services, told the board that their living wage increase of 2.25 percent is not enough to sustain an adequate quality of life.
“We feel we aren’t appreciated. Walk in our shoes for one day and tell us if RUSD pays us for what we are worth,” Mariposa Elementary School’s office manager told the board.
Redlands Councilman Eddie Tejeda spoke in support of RESPA saying that it is important to recognize that the employees come to work to serve others.
“Teachers can’t do their jobs without their support staff,” said Tejeda. “The district should provide RESPA employees with the financial stability they have earned.”
RESPA employees made it known that they were there to seek equity, not for a large pay raise.
“I am responsible for creating a healthy environment for students,” said Kimberly Elementary School’s lead custodian.
“I have to work an extra job to survive the rising cost of living with three kids. It could be improved with a salary increase.”
Multiple RESPA members told the board how the cost of health insurance exhausts most of their funds. Some members pay $300 to $600 a month for insurance.
Redlands resident and former council candidate Kaiser Ahmed also spoke in support of RESPA.
“These people serve not just my children but everyone’s children.”
The Redlands Teachers Association showed their solidarity for their fellow employees and also thanked the district for reaching negotiations of their own.
“Teachers were happy with changes made for the first week of school. Stress was alleviated,” said RTA president Teresa Steinbroner.
RUSD Superintendent Mauricio Arellano thanked RESPA for coming out and voicing their concerns.
“Our employees are our family,” Arellano said.