Over the last three years thousands of parents, students, educators and community members have taken to the streets to protest the cutback in school nurses. The failure to provide a full time nurse at every school has become the face of a budget crisis that threatens the well being of our students. Rather than prioritize restoring nurse positions and fighting for the funding to do so, the District, once again, is turning to privatizing these services.
The announcement on May 13th that the administration is seeking proposals from private providers“ to expand and improve health care services while working within the District’s current fiscal constraints” is essentially a call for contracting out nursing jobs.”
If the District was really concerned with improving health care for our students the first step it would take would be to recall the 100 nurses who have been laid off as a result of an austerity budget adopted three years ago.
As part of a school based team, school nurses develop strong relationships with students, their families, teachers and counselors. Many of these nurses have spent years at the same school. Contracting out those positions to save money sacrifices these advantages. School nurses also have special certification to do this work. The only motivation for eliminating these positions would be to hire non-union, possibly uncertified, nurses for less money.
PCAPS, as an advocate for sustainable community schools, favors wrap around health services that support the work that certified school nurses do for children and can serve families and neighborhoods within our schools. But expanding health services should not be used as a means for privatizing union jobs.
We call on the District to:
- Recall laid off nurses. A full time nurse in every school
- Stop the assaults on the PFT, Get back to the bargaining table, and negotiate a contract that is fair to school employees and good for students
- Commit to 25 sustainable community schools with wrap around services by 2018