Classified employees earn less in Carson

Classified school employees in Carson City looking for a raise in pay may need only transfer to a neighboring district to make more money.

A salary survey of Carson City School District's bus drivers, teachers aides and food service workers showed they are paid less than similar positions in Douglas, Storey and Washoe counties.

Carson City's bus drivers are the lowest paid at $9.34 per hour for an entry level driver while Douglas County drivers are the highest paid at $11.89 per hour for new hires. Washoe County is in the middle with $10.14 per hour for those receiving full benefits.

It's something the Nevada Classified Employees Union wants to see change.

"We're not even looking to bring it up to the average," said union representative Dennis Ziemer. "We just want it to be moderately similar."

Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said it is not that simple.

"You can't just look at salary, you have to look at benefits - the whole package," she said. "We have a very good medical package but it's very expensive. Every school district their own insurance plan."

The union, which recently joined with the national organization, American Federation of Teachers, hit a standstill in salary and benefits negotiations with the Carson City School District. They will enter mediation Tuesday.

Employees have staged picket marches, calling for a 2 percent raise, as appropriated by the Legislature. District officials contend the money has been absorbed in other costs.

The teachers union, Ormsby County Educators Association, is also asking for a 2 percent raise and will also begin the mediation process.

"What is the reason they don't have the money when the other counties do?" Ziemer asked. "We don't have the answers to that question."

Classified employees are all those who work for the school district but are not teachers or administrators.

Carson City's teachers aides make $8.47 per hour upon entering. In Storey County, they make $9.23, Douglas County aides are paid $9.83.

"It reflects the standard that they're willing to set," Ziemer said. "All they're willing to be is a training ground to send people to other districts or other work."

He said employees who stay in the district will have to work harder for less to make up for lost workers.

If a compromise cannot be met in mediation, the two parties will go to binding arbitration where a decision will be made by a third party.


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