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Parents and grandparents - protect school nurses from cutbacks

Posted: May 12, 2013 - 12:10am

It is time for the parents and grandparents of students in the Juneau School District to stand up to the absolutely ludicrous decision made by the District administration in firing three more school nurses and replacing them and the two fired last year with “health assistants.”

This decision will leave only five nurses throughout the school district to address the needs of students in six elementary schools, two middle schools, three high schools, as well as the Montessori and Charter Schools. The requirements for the health assistant position have been identified as a high school diploma — that is it! That means that your child, when they become sick or injured while in school or if they have a health condition requiring a nurse, will not receive professional assistance in over half of our schools.

What are the options for dealing with a sick or injured child in a school without a nurse? Call 911 or call the parent/grandparent. So, make arrangements with your employer to either be called to school or called to the emergency room next year if your child gets injured or sick at a school without a nurse.

The starting salary for a school nurse is only $7 more than the starting salary for these health assistants. Compute this over the school year (190 days x 7.5 hours) and you get just under $10,000 per year! This is absolutely insane!

The school district cannot find $10,000 in funding per position to allow the schools in Juneau to adequately care for our children? I need to point out that the School District made an attempt to engage the public in this year’s school district budget decisions. The budget committee made some hard decisions in making their suggestions to the District. One of the committee’s top recommendations was to not cut any nursing positions and to restore the two nursing positions that had been eliminated the previous year. This was blatantly ignored as the Superintendent and his team then came up with an entirely different plan for the nurses. Hopefully the School District can find $50,000 to keep our children safe.

Tim Powers

Juneau

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