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Austin ISD employees ask school district for pay raises and bonuses, petition signed by thousands

Education Austin petition asks AISD for 3% pay raise for all school district employees.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin ISD employees are asking for a 3% pay bump and they're trying to get the board's attention with a petition

The petition also asks the school district for a $500 bonus for classified employees, such as custodians, bus drivers, and food services workers. 

"We need to start supporting them financially, so that teachers can afford to live where they work. So that they can afford to take care of their families. So that they have proper healthcare. So that they're not struggling financially and they can continue to do the amazing job that they do," said Abby Burnham, an Austin High School art teacher.

During these times of change and uncertainty, AISD employees have stepped up to face the challenges of adjusting to new ways of learning, teaching, and serving families. It is clear that school employees are the backbone of our society. Let's pay them accordingly.

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Education Austin's petition has more than 2,000 signatures, and Burnham said it's exactly what teachers need right now.

"They're verbally supporting us really well, but showing it through their budget that they support teachers and they want to make sure that we're in a stable position to provide the best that we can for the children," said Burnham. "We got a good raise last year and it was the first time in as long as I can remember and I've been a teacher for 14 years."

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The coronavirus pandemic changed things, and Burnham said they've spent countless hours adjusting to new ways of learning. She said it pushed AISD employees to work even harder to build curriculums from scratch. 

"Even after this ends, the online curriculum that we create is going to be used," said Burnham. "It's going to be implemented in our classroom. It's going to make us stronger teachers, but we're doing all of that work and we're doing it from our homes, from our own systems." 

Burnham said the pay raise will provide the AISD employees with more stability and financial support they've been struggling to get for so long. She said it's become an around the clock job and the expectations are much greater. 

"When AISD talks about what the district is doing, what they're talking about is what the teachers and school employees are doing," said Ken Zarifis, Education Austin president. "It's been incredible. The online network that this district will brag about in the next two years will have been developed by the teachers." 

Zarifis said many employees have risked their health making sure students get what they need and getting a pay raise will show employees that the district cares. 

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"The employees carried you through. The employees lifted you up. It's time to recognize the employees in word and in deed," said Zarifis. 

The petition states: 

"During these times of change and uncertainty, AISD employees have stepped up to face the challenges of adjusting to new ways of learning, teaching, and serving families. It is clear that school employees are the backbone of our society. Let’s pay them accordingly. Today, we need you to sign our petition asking AISD to give its employees a pay raise. "

It's goal is to get 3,200 signatures. 

KVUE reached out to AISD and it's board of trustees for a statement and has not heard back.

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