While the ACLC does not endorse candidates, we do poll them to learn where they stand on issues that are important to our members. In May we began sending out questions regarding the Living Wage and access to health care to candidates at the local and state level. Below are the responses that we’ve received thus far. Needless to say, this election cycle will be an extremely important one for our community, our state, and our nation. We strongly encourage Labor Coalition members to familiarize themselves with the various candidates for office and to get involved in their campaigns.
The Alachua County School Board is another of our community’s largest employers, with many workers still making below a Living Wage. Here’s what our candidates for School Board had to say on this topic:
1. Do you support paying all Alachua County School Board workers a living wage? This includes part-time, full-time, instructional, ESP, temporary, and contracted workers.
*Juliun Kinsey: “Yes, anyone who is responsible for the safety and well-being of children deserves to be paid no less than a living wage. This issue is personal for me and will be a priority if I am elected. My mother is a paraprofessional currently earning $10.89 an hour. She has two other jobs to supplement the school board’s failure to offer a living wage.”
*Leanetta McNealy: “I would be in support of paying Alachua County School Board workers in a responsible way. We are currently working toward increasing our employees salaries which also includes one of the best benefit packages in the state which the Board pays an additional $3.00 per employee.”
*Eileen Roy: “Yes. The Alachua County School Board already pays all workers who work half-time or more benefits, including retirement and 100% of health care premium. For full-time employees, these benefits total $3.05/ hour and for half-time or more, they total even more—up to $5 hour.”
2. Do you support a phase-in over the next 5 years to increase the Alachua School Board’s minimum wage to 125% the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), currently at $14.60 an hour?
*Juliun Kinsey: “Yes, the total amount of the annual budget is more than $333 million. Surely the Alachua County School Board can (and should) phase-in this appropriate minimum wage increase.”
*Leanetta McNealy: “I would want to pursue our increases in a responsible way. The equity between job classifications such as ESP’s, instructional, and administrators, would create a significant impact on our budget. It would be wonderful to be able to do this, but given the significant financial impact to the District it would require a substantial increase in funding from the State.”
*Eileen Roy: “Yes, especially if one includes benefits. The lowest paid school board employee presently makes about $10.00/hr. Benefits for full-time equal $3 more, so we should be able to reach this goal if benefits are counted. It is always my goal. Bear in mind that the School Board cannot raise our millage like the city or the county. Our millage is set by the state, so we have limited control.”