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Article published March 7, 2013
Mars extras might end
Bonnie Herp Valencia
As a longtime Mars School District custodian who has been asked to give up so much or face losing my job, I had to write to let the community know about the reality of what we do. Over the years, teachers and I have developed a lot of respect for one another, and I help them in any way I can. My knowledge and years of experience protect and maintain the technology and infrastructure that the public has invested in the district’s schools. The district won’t include the true scope of my job in any bidding process, probably because district officials don’t really know what my job consists of. Of course I clean classrooms, but I also have to be ready at a moment’s notice to go out and shovel and salt the walkway so no one falls. I might suddenly get called away to set up for basketball games or a class meeting, something that won’t get included in any outsourcing bid. I have to be prepared to clean extra rooms when we are short-staffed, and even though I am not allowed overtime, the job must get done. When someone gets sick in the gym or water is spilled in a hallway, I run to clean it up before someone is injured. I know who shouldn’t be in the halls, and I let a teacher or administrator know when I suspect a trespasser or suspicious activity. These extras are about to disappear, and someday the community will ask who was responsible.