MMSD custodians will go without wage increase under approved budget
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Metropolitan School District held a school board meeting Monday to finalize the 2022-2023 budget, and at the meeting, custodians once again requested a wage increase. The budget passed on a 6-1 vote without an increase for custodial staff, and a motion from board member Nicki Vander Meulen to schedule talks over the next six months on the issue was not seconded.
“Equipment operators, grounds workers, and maintenance workers were left out of the $5 an hour raise; I’ve come here tonight to ask you to reconsider by adding our employee group,” said union AFSCME Wisconsin Local 60 President Rob Larson. “There are less than 200 of us, we are spread out over 50 buildings, and we do so much more than meets the eye.”
Larson says there are 32 custodial positions open across the district, and an increase in wages could help with recruiting, which could help fight the burnout among custodial staff. Of the many public comments, a majority came from custodians asking for a pay increase like the district approved for teachers over the summer.
“Custodial staff is doing more every day, taking on additional duties, doing our utmost to keep the schools not only clean but to keep our schools safe,” said Sandburg Elementary School custodian Tom Bach at the meeting.
Larson says he has custodians struggling to pay for housing and considering jobs in fast food service due to the workload and low pay.
“One of our new hires who almost left to work at Culver’s for 69 cents more per hour,” said Larson. “We are essential; we’re there for our scholars, we’re there for our educators, and we’re there for our communities.”
The school board did vote to finalize the budget without a wage increase.
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