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Wage Against The Machine

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Burlington paraeducators and their supporters took to the streets last week as part of an ongoing campaign to raise the wages of Burlington's lowest paid civil servants. Although the city has an ordinance requiring that all municipal workers receive a livable wage -- or enough money to cover a family's basic needs such as food, housing, child care and taxes -- the school department does not.

In fact, none of Burlington's paraeducators earns enough to live on. Fifty-five percent of the district's 172 teaching assistants earn $9.25 per hour or less -- about $9990 per year; the Vermont Legislature's Joint Fiscal Office figures a livable wage in Burlington at $12.02 per hour. According to the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign, the pay raise would cost property owners another $3.25 per month, or about $40 per year.

As of this writing, the School Board's Finance Committee was expected to consider the matter at its May 17 meeting, and bring the issue to the full board in August.

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