Saturday, April 14, 2007

Campus Cops and A Keystone Cops Payscale: An APS Story

A couple of weeks ago, I made mention of a funny/sad little story regarding the "cop" who used to work at my place of teaching employ. I put the word cop in quotation marks because APS has two categories of uniformed folks around school: full-blown police officers and "campus security aides". As they're both uniformed (and my lucky job doesn't involve much interaction with them), I've never been able to tell the difference between cops and "aides".

Anyway, I haven't gotten around to that little story yet for a variety of reasons. I'm reminded of that oversight after seeing a story in the online ABQJournal regarding embattled APS Police Chief Gil Lovato that has a mention of my little smidge of the APS empire, Jefferson Middle School.

A couple of things about my school. First, in my not-so-humble, extremely biased opinion Jefferson is a great place to learn and work. Not perfect, but oh so much closer than any other place I've learned/worked at. For instance, Jefferson just "swept the field" in the ABQTrib's annual poetry contest. Fortunately enough, positive news like this comes out of Jefferson all the time. Second, on the subject of "cops" in schools, I admit a high degree of ambivalence about their presence. I'm not so sure schools need cops, or that having them creates the sort of academic atmosphere conducive to learning. At the same time, I tend to teach poetry contest winners (by the way, I had absolutely nothing to do with student success in the ABQTrib contest, none) and not fighters, so I don't have many dealings with situations in which cops might be needed. I'm defiantly naive in this regard, and loving it.

In case you're wondering, I'm also uninformed on whether Gil Lovato is a good or bad APS Police Chief, whether Tom Savage is the office monster Lovato attorney Sam Bregman makes him out to be, or if Sam Bregman is paid by the newspaper story instead of the time he actually spends preparing/litigating a case. Again, I don't know, but I'd guess Mr. Bregman may have missed his true calling of sports agent or Lindsay Lohan publicist.

As I've said myriad times before, it's amazing just how much I don't know. As example, I can't answer the question brought up in this part of the ABQJournal story:

Bregman said Jefferson Middle School also lost its APD resource officer, so Savage ordered a school campus aide assigned there.
"Chief Lovato reminded Mr. Savage that Jefferson didn't have the money to pay for that security aide but was ordered to place him there anyway," Bregman said.
That aide recently left his job, so Jefferson no longer has the extra security."

I don't know if Jefferson stole this "school campus aide". I don't know if Savage is in the wrong here, or anything regarding that question. My attention is instead drawn to the journalistic aside "That aide recently left his job....." I heard at school (and this is where we get into blog rumor mode) that Jefferson's aide left the job because the pay was better as an "Educational Assistant".

For those non-educators readers who have not yet passed out from sheer boredom, "Educational Assistants" (EAs) are fine, wonderful people who are so committed to children that they will help a "real teacher" in a Special Education classroom for almost no money, whatsoever. The pay for "Educational Assistants" is laughable in that funny/sad way I mentioned above. So when I heard that Jefferson's "Campus Security Aide" left to become an Educational Assistant, I frankly didn't believe it. Given the poor pay for "EAs", what pitiful current job not involving the sale of Big Macs would have someone switching INTO an EA job?

So I looked it up.(go to APS Careers, then Salary Schedules)

A trip to the APS website later, I can report that, in hourly pay, Campus Security Aides (CSAs) make less than Educational Assistants. For example, an EA with a high school diploma to seven hours of college credit makes $10.14 an hour. A similarly educated CSA makes $8.82 an hour. $8.82 an hour. Yes, that figure goes up with more college coursework. A CSA with more than 90 hours of college credit makes $11.80 an hour. $11.80.

Now because CSAs work longer annual contracts (192 days at 8 hours a day, EAs have a 182 day contract at 6.5 hours a day) they end up with more annual pay than EAs. Pay that ranges, depending on college coursework, from $13,548 to $18,125 per year.

Thirteen to eighteen K for an uniformed presence at school, performing police duties like investigation, searches, community policing, etc. Again, laughable in that funny/sad way. To state the obvious, no surprise the District is having such a hard time finding folks to fill CSA jobs. They're competing compensatorily with Wendy's and Burger King for applicants.


michelle meaders said...

"At the same time, I tend to teach poetry contest winners ... and not fighters, so I have many dealings with situations in which cops might be needed. I'm defiantly naive in this regard, and loving it."

Maybe you left out a "don't"?

frannyzoo said...

Thanks Michelle...I need an editor, quite obviously.

michelle meaders said...

Don't you live with an accomplished one? It's hard to see omissions in your own text.