Give Custodians Better Pay and Healthcare

There are many things that make a school successful. The teachers, the students, and the administration, but one group of people that often go unnoticed are the custodians. These custodians show up early morning and stay late at night making our school a better place. Their job is extremely difficult, and it doesn’t help that they don’t get paid very well and aren’t even guaranteed a well-put-together and stable health insurance plan.

We need to pay our custodians more and offer them better healthcare plans.

Every state pays its custodians differently, and according to Zippia, an online career website, a list they made found that out of all the 50 states, Texas is among the states that pay custodians the least. Louisiana was ranked as the state that pays the least at $11.35 an hour, with Texas paying $13.58 an hour, which adds up. Massachusetts was the state that paid its custodian staff the most at $17.51 an hour. The fact that Texas pays custodial staff 5 to 14 percent less than the national average salary for their job is appalling. Their job is not easy, nor pleasant to say the least, yet you would think that the state would want to pay them more for being committed to their job. They have families that aren’t able to spend enough time with because they are always at school making sure the classrooms, halls, and bathrooms are clean and ready for the next day. They work all summer in order to prepare for the upcoming school year. They deserve sufficient hourly pay.

Healthcare is an issue that has been discussed for countless occupations over the years. One thing that is extremely disappointing is that in our district, the employees, including custodians, are offered three options for healthcare coverage. Employees have to choose one of the options within the first 31 days of their job, and once that window is closed they are not able to sign up or change anything about their health insurance plan, according to the Employee Benefits Guide. In addition to that, employees can have a doctor that is covered under the plan they choose, which is called an in-network plan, however, if they have a doctor that is not under the plan they choose then the services provided by that physician may not be covered, which is known as an out-network plan. Considering how much custodians are paid, the plans that are cheaper would be more accessible, but the disadvantages that come with not having a doctor that is covered and having to pay more in deductibles is causing more harm than good. According to Principal, Joaquin Hernandez, and his own experience with health benefits in different places, there are districts that have made systems to that employee who chooses to not have a healthcare plan get paid the amount of money the district would have covered if they had accepted a plan.

This is an issue that needs to be given more attention because our schools would not be in good shape if it wasn’t for the work that custodians do. On a state level, there needs to be an evaluation of how healthcare plans can be curated to be more appropriate to the wages of custodial workers. If there are states that are making those advances to pay them more, then Texas can learn from those states and apply it to our own legislation. On a district level, there needs to be a reconsideration of hourly pay, and provide resources that take into account where employees live and their commute. Principal Hernandez and the administration here have already begun to push the needle by providing a free breakfast once a month for the employees that work on an hourly wage, including the custodians, and have put other efforts in place to give these hourly workers one less thing to worry about.

Custodians are vital to our education system. Their job is one that can not go unnoticed. They deserve more appreciation and recognition, which includes a more well-balanced wage. NEISD already gives healthcare plans that are much more beneficial than other districts, however, there is always room for improvement, and there are always more things to consider. It starts with one decision to revisit the options, and it takes an entire population to change the way things operate.

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About Gianna DiPasquale

I am a junior and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. I love writing and journalism is something that I hope to be involved in as a career some day.

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