Laura Harper, who is an organizer for paraprofessionals and other school employees, got it right in this article by Times Picayune reporter Barri Bronston: "Teachers are the cornerstone. But support people are the mortar that holds the cornerstone together. They're the ones (who) make the hot lunches, keep the schools clean and assist with special students."
Often unappreciated, usually underpaid, but vital to the running of a school system. Last year, the state gave support workers a $1,000 salary supplement. Since it was not a permanent part of their salary, though, the legislature will have to find about $48 million to continue the supplement. It should be a permanent addition to their salaries. We'll be asking for help to get the money appropriated by lawmakers.