SAN ANTONIO – Cafeteria workers, custodians and other support personnel at the San Antonio Independent School District will get a significant pay raise next school year.
The SAISD Board of Trustees approved employee pay raises Monday night, increasing the minimum hourly rate for most full time employees, including at 20 percent increase for workers earning $10 per hour.
Rose Mary Saenz is a cafeteria worker at Jefferson High School and next week will mark 23 years working for the district.
Saenz said that raising her three children, working two jobs and living check to check has not been easy.
"When my babies were little, I never told them that I went without eating meals," said Saenz. "I made sure my children ate and I would go to bed crying, but a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do."
C.O.P.S. Metro Alliance and the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Staff said they have been fighting for employees like Rose Mary Saenz.
"People who are really doing the work, the behind the scenes (people) that keep things going," said Shelley Potter with the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Staff. "So many of them are parents or grandparents of kids in our schools."
Both C.O.P.S. Metro Alliance and the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Staff said Monday's vote by the SAISD school board to approve employee pay raises is a step in the right direction.
"It's going to help them fight poverty and do their jobs and raise their families with dignity," said Juanita Ramos with C.O.P.S. Metro Alliance. "And, it will give their children a fighting chance in school so, it's very exciting."
Those making $10 an hour will make $12 an hour next school year.
The starting salary for new teachers, librarians and registered nurses increases from $50,000 to just over $51,500 a year.
"We're not quite where we want to be on the livable wage and so, it's going to take several years to get there," said SAISD Board President Patti Radle. "This is a big first step when you know that the people in the lower end are actually getting up to a 20 percent increase in pay."
For Saenz, that means more time with her three grandchildren.
"I'm happy with this raise," said Saenz.
Radle said they will keep working to raise the hourly pay rate in the future, but they are hoping that they can get some help from the state.