Bus drivers, cafeteria workers to receive raise
While students and teachers have been learning at home, bus drivers and cafeteria workers are still reporting to schools each morning to prepare and serve meals to kids across Wareham.
Now, those workers will be getting a well-deserved raise of two dollars per hour for the duration of the pandemic.
At Thursday night’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Shaver-Hood explained that the amount of funding the schools were receiving from the state for the meal program was recently increased, giving the schools’ food services program surplus income that can only be spent on food-related costs.
The department has all the equipment it needs, and Shaver-Hood and other officials thought that increasing staff’s pay was the best use of the funds.
The 33 employees have so far prepared and distributed more than 84,000 healthy breakfasts and lunches to kids in town -- a massive feat.
“We feel very fortunate that we’re in the position to feed as many students as we have, and that’s all due to our outstanding cafeteria employees, our cafeteria managers, bus drivers, Mike Rousseau, with assistance from Jamie Andrews,” Shaver-Hood said. “We’re very grateful for their hard work.”
Shaver-Hood also acknowledged that the bus drivers and cafeteria workers are taking on a risk by reporting to work in-person each day.
School committee member Apryl Rossi expressed concerns that it was not fair to give those employees a raise when all the teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff members are also going above and beyond during the pandemic, and eventually abstained from the vote.
Committee member Mary Morgan voted against the raise because she thought that bus monitors should have been given the opportunity to work distributing the meals.
The committee voted 3-1-1 in favor of the raise.
All kids ages zero to 18 are eligible for free meals, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in public schools. Children do not need to be present when meals are picked up. On Fridays, children will be given three breakfasts and three lunches to enjoy over the weekend.
Meals are available between 9:30 and 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, at the following sites:
—Wareham Middle School Drop Off – 4 Viking Drive, Wareham, MA 02571
—The Bandshell at Onset – 4 Union Ave, Onset, MA 02558
—The Gleason Family YMCA Parking Lot – 33 Charge Pond Rd, Wareham, MA 02571
—The Cranberry Highway Lot by Gold World – near 3112 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, MA 02538
—The Woods at Wareham Apartment Complex – in the vicinity of 36 Swifts Beach Rd, Wareham, MA 02571
—The Cromesett Road Pump Station – on Terry Lane near Cromesett Road, Wareham, MA 02571
—The Brandy Hill Apartment Complex – in the vicinity of 12 State St, East Wareham, MA 02538
—Shangri La Playground – near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and Restful Ln in Wareham, MA 02538
—Decas Elementary Parking Lot – 760 Main Street, Wareham, MA 02571
—West Wareham School Parking Lot – 1071 Main Street, West Wareham, MA 02576