Dear Editor:

Being a yard duty at Hatch Elementary School is an amazing job. It's incredible to go to work and know that I'm going to make a difference to so many kids each day. How many jobs do people get to go to where they receive spontaneous high-fives? How many of you are lucky enough to enter a schoolyard and have hundreds of kids chant your name? It's something that I treasure. It’s very rewarding to be a valued member in the community I live in and love. It feels great to go home every day knowing I was able to do a small part in the education process for so many of the Coastside's youth. It's really an honor.

By no means is managing an elementary school campus, sometimes 200 kids at one time, an easy job. It can be mind-numbingly difficult. Most parents spend five minutes in our noisy, crowded lunchroom and say, “I don't know how y'all do it.” But we do it for the kids, for the hard-working teachers and supportive parents. The pay is embarrassingly low and stagnant. It's reflective of an inactive, indifferent district that's intensely slow to change.

For as long as I’ve been at Hatch, yard duties have been treated like scarecrows by Cabrillo Unified School District. We were the only furloughed group within Cabrillo (to my knowledge), and our repeated appeals to the higher-ups at the district office have been ignored until recently. They’ve had all the time in the world to do the right thing, but it wasn't until feathers got ruffled via emails and the Half Moon Bay Review’s involvement that the district finally started to listen.

I'm extremely grateful to the Review and Deputy Editor Sarah Wright for bringing our story to the public.

For the record, I don't want Cabrillo to pay yard duties throughout the district what I get paid at the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside. At this point, we deserve to be paid what Cabrillo is paying new part-time hires in the pod supervisor position at $18 per hour (or more). This newly created position does not require any more qualifications than a yard duty and has less responsibilities and duties. I’m still hopeful the district will do the right thing.

Paul Harrison


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