FOX 5 EXCLUSIVE: Fairfax County Public School union says summer-school bonus creates caste system

The Fairfax Education Association has circulated a petition calling on Fairfax County Public Schools to remedy what they call a two-class system created by bonuses offered to encourage staff to sign up for volunteer extended school year shifts.

The bonuses for teachers were offered at $1000, but just $500 for support staff.

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The petition has more than 200 signatures.

Support staff includes paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers and other people who work in schools with children, but are not licensed teachers.

In a statement to FOX 5, FCPS noted that support staff are not required to have licenses. The statement continued, "Salary scales are always different for licensed staff and unlicensed staff. Licensure ensures a staff member can lead a class as a teacher in their own right."

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Alyce Pope, a support worker and union representative told FOX 5 the bonus system makes staff in her position feel less valued.

"Does that mean that they're half as valuable? What message are you sending?" she asked.

"If we talk about equity we have to be equitable in our practices. So to be able to say that one set of employees who provide support to children is more important than another set I mean we all are educators," she said.

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FCPS gave no indication it planned on changing the incentive for support staff, although the union says it plans on delivering the petition to the district soon.