Carter in the classroom

Fort Worth School Nurses Ask for Pre-COVID Salary

North Texas school nurses are asking for pay increases after a COVID-19 passage that allowed salary cuts

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Dozens of school employees are planning to show up at the school board meeting in Fort Worth demanding action from board members after their pay was unexpectedly cut.

There were so many superheroes in our school during the pandemic teachers were celebrating parents and vice versa and school nurses were right in the middle of it.

"Everybody who came in the door had to check in with me that went on for weeks months,  then we brought children back to school and that’s when it got ugly," said Nanette Cowain, a school nurse.

"We underwent a lot of scrutinies it used to be when a kid is coughing in class you take a few sips of water, go back to class, you don’t have a fever, but during the covid pandemic you were told to send them home," said Margaret Gant, a school nurse.

While all that was going on their paychecks mysteriously got smaller.

It happened in House Bill 3 when most teachers got a raise.

"Fort Worth ISD decoupled the nurses from the salary schedule and that caused the nurses to be paid less than teachers," said Steven Poole, Executive Director, United Educators Association  

The pay cut comes at a time with nurses are in high demand. The nurses we spoke with said 20% of their fellow nurses have already left for better pay and less stress.

"I’m being offered $4,500 to $5000 a week to work labor and delivery in Dallas and San Antonio," said Cowain.

But she and her colleagues say they stay because they love their students.

"As difficult as it’s been I love this job, I love going to work.  I want to retire in this job and I want to be paid appropriately, and I don’t feel like we’re feeling that right now," said Gant.

The nurses plan to address the Fort Worth ISD Board of Trustees for help.

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