Payscales threaten prison schools/rehab

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 18, 2014 - 9:06 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 23, 2014 - 9:24 am

Re 'What California State Workers earn" (The State Worker, June 16): The Bee's State Worker recently revealed disparate salaries of state teachers working behind prison walls. Currently three groups of geographically challenged California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation educators are paid on a salary scale some 800 dollars below that of equally employed colleagues elsewhere in the state.

As a result of an unprecedented agreement between the Office of Correctional Education and SEIU/Local 1000 pay equity-a fundamental principle of state civil service- was abandoned nearly six years ago.

However, the income lost to affected teachers, their retirement savings and their respective communities is only the tip of the iceberg. Prison rehabilitation efforts rely on quality educational programs. When experienced correctional educators must consider relocating for higher pay, prison programs suffer.

This an issue that speaks as much to false savings as to fairness. I am reminded of a popular bumper sticker "Think Education is Expensive? Try Ignorance."

-- Deborah Binger Smith, Los Osos

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