Kelly Lima, a special education teacher at Cary Junior High School addressed the Cary School District 26 Board of Education and the audience during community input at the regular board meeting on Sept. 26.
Lima's base salary was $51,341 for the 2010-2011 school year; according to the Cary School District 26 cost summary package.
The board has proposed a decrease in pay, in which Lima's base pay will be $46,977 for the 2011-2012 school year and will stay the same for the 2012-2013 school year because of the proposed pay freeze.
Lima spent about six minutes explaining the impact of the imposed contract by the board.
This is my ninth year as a special education teacher at Cary Junior High. I’m speaking to you tonight as a parent, teacher and a community member.
My son goes to school in our district and has had absolutely incredible teachers and support each year.
The progress and developments he has made are truly unbelievable. I can’t express in words how grateful we are as educators.
I wish there were more people here from the community but I’m sure that those of you who are here have also had the good fortune of your child learning from amazing teachers and that’s because in this district we have amazing teachers.
My husband and I bought our home in Cary in 2004 and since then we’ve added two sons to our household. Due to cost of day care for an infant and toddler, my husband had to resign from his sales position to stay at home with our boys while seeking a new position.
Needless to say, I am the sole source of income for our family at this time.
After eight years of teaching in Cary, I received my lowest paycheck on September 5, $821.80.
My final paycheck from the 2010-2011 school year was $1,225. My pay was decreased by $430 per pay period, which means a total decrease in take home pay of $806 a month. Our salaries decreased but our insurance rates increased.
It use to cost me $415 per paycheck to insure my family, now it costs me $646 per paycheck or $1,292 a month just to have health insurance. This does not include my $1,000 deductible or any out-of-pocket costs.
I currently bring home $1,643.60.
After paying mortgage, we’re left with just over $300 to pay for groceries, gas and utilities and medical bills. As you can imagine, $300 is not enough to cover all of our expenses for the month.
As a result my husband and I have applied for food stamps, I’m so embarrassed about this but pride is no place when we have children to feed.
For the first time, we were unable to make a complete mortgage payment this month. When I opened my paycheck on the fifth, I cried.
I wondered, are the board members able to pay their mortgages this month? I can’t.
Are the board members able to go to the grocery store tomorrow to buy groceries for their family? I can’t.
If they were in my shoes would they rethink their imposed contract?
As I said before, we were unable to pay our mortgage this month. Unfortunately, until our financial situation changes, we’ll continue to make incomplete mortgage payments. It’s really difficult to keep your house when you can’t make the payments.
And it breaks my heart knowing that we will be force to leave our home and my son will be pulled from a program that truly has changed his life.
I feel completely powerless as I watch our home slip away from us.
In closing, my purpose tonight was not to look for anyone’s sympathy, rather I felt as a community member that my neighbors should know how the board’s imposed contract has impacted our teachers, our families and most important to me, my family.
I’ll like to believe that the board took the teachers and our families into consideration before they imposed their contract but I can’t.
I do believe that the board was and continues to see numbers and not faces. When I look at the numbers on my paycheck, these are the faces I see (Lima holds up a photo of her sons).