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Letter to the Editor: Pequot Lakes School union asks for fair compensation

We are respectfully reaching out to the Pequot Lakes School Board in an attempt to come to a reasonable and mutual agreement that honors who we are and what we do for our community, school and especially our students.

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I am writing this letter on behalf of ISD 186 Local 284 employees of Pequot Lakes.

We are more than a cook, a paraprofessional, a secretary, a custodian, a nurse or someone who mows the lawn and keeps the school grounds and fields immaculate. We may not all be licensed staff; however, that does not, and should not, diminish the value of our roles or our responsibility to our community, school and our students.

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We are asking to be compensated accordingly.

This is more than a job to us. It is our livelihood that develops into relationships with students we genuinely care about. We know that a good education is pivotal to the growth and the future of all Pequot Lakes students.

The pandemic placed unexpected demands on all staff, families and students. We, Local 284, worked incredibly hard to meet and maintain the continuity of services the district expected us to provide. We met the challenge of this unprecedented situation with diligence and grace.

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We were frontline employees who stepped up and were there for our students, because we knew the importance of their education and how much they needed us. We worked diligently to help the students of Pequot Lakes to grow and develop during these most formidable and influential years.

Our team went to the board in good faith and offered them what we believed were fair contract proposals. Ultimately, we are respectfully reaching out to the Pequot Lakes School Board in an attempt to come to a reasonable and mutual agreement that honors who we are and what we do for our community, school and especially our students.

Thank you so much for your support.

China Harmala,

Breezy Point

Local 284 - ISD 186

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