OPINION: Open letter to the Grand Prairie School Board on behalf of the teachers

24
11057
June 2020 GPISD Scchool Board Meeting Photo Credit: GPISD

By: Malcom Chakery

Dear Grand Prairie ISD School Board and Superintendent Linda Ellis,

As the editor of the Grand Prairie News, I am writing in support of our local teachers. I ask that you give them the bonuses and stipends that they deserve during the pandemic. While other area districts have paid their teachers the additional pay that they deserve for their work during this time, Grand Prairie ISD has failed to do so. This situation is untenable. The teachers in the Grand Prairie ISD selflessly give of themselves while risking their safety to ensure that our children receive the education that they need and deserve. However, they have gone unrecognized for their efforts for long enough.

Despite the great risks that teachers in Grand Prairie face each day, they have not received the raise or bonuses that they deserve. Teachers arrive at their schools early in the morning every day and continue working late into the evening trying to ensure that their students continue to learn in a difficult environment. They do their jobs because of the love that they have for the children of Grand Prairie and a deep desire to help them to enjoy bright futures. Many of our teachers in Grand Prairie are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 because of age or underlying health conditions, but they continue to go to work to try to give their students a sense of normalcy and to encourage continued learning.

Despite the vital work that teachers in Grand Prairie do, they do not receive salaries that are commensurate with the services they offer. Many teachers are forced to take on second jobs simply to make ends meet. Some educators have lost second jobs because of the economic downturn, and others have found themselves as the sole providers for their families because of the loss of their partners’ jobs. Recently, educators in the school district and the community mourned the loss of two members of the Grand Prairie ISD family due to the COVID. Even with the knowledge of all of the challenges that our teachers are facing, the school district has still not rewarded its teachers for their hard work and dedication during this challenging time.

Surrounding school districts understand the important work of their teachers. Duncanville ISD recently gave its teachers stipends of $2,000 to thank them for their work for students during the pandemic. Similarly, Fort Worth ISD gave each full-time employee a one-time $1,000 bonus and each part-time employee a one-time $500 bonus for their willingness to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cedar Hill ISD recently approved a 3% salary adjustment for all auxiliary staff and a stipend for all of the district’s staff to thank them for their dedication and reliability. While these other districts have acted, Grand Prairie ISD has failed to do so.

While money is always a concern for school boards and superintendents, there are several ways that Grand Prairie ISD could fund bonuses or raises for our dedicated teachers. The district recently contracted to sell real estate located at Camp Wisdom and Robinson. The money realized from the sale could help to support raises or bonuses for teachers. The district could also sell the unused million-dollar property located across the street from Tom Thumb commonly referred to as the TxDOT property instead of allowing it to lie in waste. You could also hold off on spending 14 million for network routers and switches and invest in your teachers. As the school board and superintendent of the Grand Prairie school district, it is your responsibility to look for needed sources to provide teachers with the relief they need.

While I understand that teachers had $900 added to their salaries at the end of last year we know that those funds came from the State of Texas through House Bill 3. That is insufficient to keep up with inflation and the cost of benefits and you are aware of that. Two years ago, former superintendent Dr. Susan Hull saw fit to give all the teachers a $500 Christmas bonus. However, the teachers have not received bonuses since that time.

If we expect our teachers to go above and beyond to inspire learning, teach beyond the test, and help to mold our children into the leaders of tomorrow, we have to be willing to give back in thanks for their hard work. Grand Prairie ISD should not lag behind other districts. Instead, I urge you to take action and provide the educators in our district with the financial help that they deserve during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. When teachers are not paid what they deserve, they might be tempted to head to districts where their work is more valued. So let’s stop chasing blue ribbons and invest in human capital. Teachers are already emailing you asking for help. Will you answer the call?

24 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for giving a shout out to the teachers. All we hear is the negative. It nice to read someone supporting us, instead of tearing us down.

  2. Love what you said!! I live in Grand Prarie, but don’t teach in this district. My district is good to me and provided a bonus.

  3. Thankyou for sticking up for teachers of Grand Prairie. It’s out corrupt school board who spends money like it’s their own personal checking account is the reason why the teachers will get nothing. It’s the school board members who have deceived this community about the District’s finances is why the teacher will receive nothing. I can go on and on about the corruption led by Terry Brook. Just Google the corruption of this school board who are fueled by greed and deceit and you will understand the reason why these teachers will not get a raise.

  4. Malcom this is beautifully written. My hope is that it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
    As a former campus administrator, i concur with Malcom. Please do right by your teachers, faculty and staff. These are extremely trying and exhausting times…

  5. The whole GPISD family should of got something as well and not who has been here the longest. Thats like a slap in the face. We all at risk coming to work dealing with coworkers as well the students in the school building and for sure on the bus Transporting get expose to them first. Its just need to be fair all the ways across and just who been here getting extra.

  6. Funny that the teachers aren’t getting this to make ends meet. Being a taxpayer I wonder why a civil service Sgt works at the Auto pound making over A hundred thousand doing clerical work as a punishment wasted money if he’s to protect our citizens why can’t he be out In the streets patrolling wasted money that can be used other ways

  7. It is nice to know the public is aware of our teachers HARD WORK!!! When will our teachers and staff be compensated. Our district is known for Top Performing schools, LET US NOT FORGET who is in there doing the work!!!

  8. These teachers deserve a BIG bonus for what they do already, so the fact that they are still doing their job, in this difficult time, they deserve more than just a bonus. Without our teachers, where would our kids be and how would they be. That’s a scary thought. We appreciate Teachers, and they should feel appreciated. 100%.

  9. The teachers I had at Adams and at grand prairie and crosswinds definitely should get a raise in the pay the teachers try there best most will offer extra help shout out to Coach Jones she’s the best teacher at grand prairie high I was her student in middle school and now she teaches my brother in high school

  10. All staff deserve a bonus chilcare teachers transportation custodian teachers Paraprofessional cafeterias workers substitute all staff if i miss any you have dedicated worker’s who are working in these difficult time because love for children Grand Prairie ISD you have to do better by showing how much you appreciate all your staff that something should have come from each one of your hearts

  11. I 100% agree, we are more than worth it! Our hard work and dedication should be valued. We are on the front line!! Putting our health at risk, as well as our loved ones. We’re literally begging for you to show us some type of appreciation, which is truly SAD GPISD do better!!

  12. All staff is the greatest working under difficult times come on Grand Prairie ISD do better with all your staff this is a shame very sad i hope these comments touch the hearts of Grand Prairie ISD leaders shame shame don’t have a cold heart against all your staff

  13. I believe all employees should receive a bonus from bus drivers down to custodian. Bus drivers are the first line of contact, then teachers in a closed up environment. Every time any employee deals with someone else child a risk is taken everyday of taking something back home to a love one. Bus driver on down we are all dedicated to making sure every child has is safe. We all know what we signed up for, BUT we also signed up to be appreciated by the district. We all are affected by what’s going on. We didn’t sign up for something that would be a slap in our face or bring harm to our family. WE ALL NEED A BONUS

  14. People shouldn’t have to die (may they R.I.P) in the line of duty in a teaching career to get the district attention. It’s sad that it took the man known as the “whistle blower “ a ex employee who now is terminated for breaking the silence of all the scam and scandals dealing with money in upper management in GPISD.

  15. Thank you for writing this article. I am not a teacher but I am a 68 year old retired citizen of this community. Both my children were schooled in Grand Prairie. They had great teachers who were there whenever needed. My youngest daughter is a teacher/coach in another school district. She is selfless and always there for all students. Grand Prairie Pay Our Teachers!! Lord know they deserve it.

  16. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vTB36x-du02lzgPkPJXUTfsg29X6RV_7vzmwAzCZh0irLAMrMKrIHSgaBfzklYWxDwYy1dkpa3GnIO0/pubhtml

    This is a comparison of the salary across districts and various years of experience. It’s nearly impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison due to different insurance plans and other stipends that might be available, so I used the lowest cost, employee only insurance option and base salary. For the COVID Bonus, I know some districts adjusted it so that no taxes were taken out, but the actual tax implications are more complicated than that; this was not accounted for since the taxman always gets his piece of the pie.

    I’ll leave it to the viewer to draw their own conclusions, as it is not my place to tell you what to think. I just want to give you the opportunity to have all of the relevant information available before you bring out the pitchforks and ropes.

    All sources are included in the sources tab if you would like to verify the information for yourself.

  17. Thank you for speaking out. I am a teacher at GPISD working between 70-80 hours weekly. My stress level has impacted my health. The pace and stress is unsustainable. I have 3 daughters that work for 3 other districts and all have received a stipend. Why are we forgotten? I love my students but we should receive something more for our willingness to put our own health on the line everyday during this time.

  18. Dearest Mr. PIGG.
    this raise has alot more to do with than this single one time. This has to do with years of deceit perpetuated by this corrupt school board who were supposed to be engaged in Public Service and yet decided to practice Self Service instead. The teachers are tired of these corrupt volunteers. You school board members are lucky that the Majority of the educators live outside of GPISD jurisdiction. All the monies that you have dispersed has a paper trail. You have spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, Mr, PIGG in attorney and bogus consulting fees. So Mr. PIGG, that is why your post has no Merritt. As a Senator told me, “you don’t have to drive to Washington DC to find a swamp…they all over the place.”. Couldn’t agree more, Mr. PIGG.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here