To the Editor:
As of March 1, 2017, the Hopewell Valley Education Support Professionals Association (HVESPA) has been without a contract for a year and a half. The HVESPA consists of secretaries, paraprofessionals, maintenance workers and custodians. Of the five associations in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, the HVESPA are the lowest paid workers in the district. At this time, these employees are working without a contract, i.e., without a guarantee of the fair pay and benefits that we have earned.
The HVESPA consists of a variety of workers. We are paraprofessionals, working as educational aides to the district’s neediest students. We are secretaries, managing the unseen yet crucial details that allow the district to run smoothly. We are maintenance workers, ensuring that all buildings are safe and functional for over 3,000 students. We are custodians, working tirelessly to maintain a clean learning environment. Without the HVESPA, the district would cease to operate at such a high level.
Every student is impacted daily by the work of HVESPA members. Every field trip has been scheduled and approved, every building has been maintained and cleaned, every class has been aided by support professionals. Every association plays a key role in maintaining the excellent reputation of Hopewell Valley schools. The HVESPA is no exception.
And yet, the HVESPA has been denied a fair settlement by the Board of Education. The Board refuses to acknowledge the work we have done while out of contract. They have consistently shown that their actions speak louder than their words. By declining to reconsider their position, the Board of Education refuses to give the HVESPA the settlement we deserve. Until their actions match their words, there will be no settlement.
Patricia Armstrong, President
Hopewell Valley Education Support Professionals Association