“School security officers in the city aren’t exactly giving students the shirt off their backs — just the cost of them.
James V. Meszoros, a security guard and president of NAGE Local R1-200, told the city school board Monday they are giving back $200 of a $424 uniform allowance to help the financially strapped school district.
The gesture will amount to $16,600 that Meszoros said he hopes the district will put toward the athletics program.
His announcement brought a round of applause in the room when the announcement was made.
“I know it goes back into the general fund but I was a coach at Bassick High School for 13 years,” Meszoros said.
Meszoros said he is hopeful Marlene Siegel, the district’s chief financial officer, can work the numbers so they can benefit athletics.
Last year, Meszoros said, the idea was raised by Police Lt. Paul Grech. After Meszoros became union president, he presented the idea to his members who liked it because it was something different.
Security guards make an average of just shy of $38,000 annually. The union contract calls for guards to get an allowance to cover four shirts and four pairs of pants every October. This year only, he said guards will get two and two.
Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson said she was ecstatic to hear of NAGE’s give back when the union president told her of it.
“It truly exemplifies all of us pulling together and rowing in the same direction for the betterment of our students,” Johnson said. “I️ sincerely thank each member of NAGE.”
The district is working to close a multi-million dollar gap between what officials say they need to run the system of 21,000 and the near flat operating funding it got from the state and city in the current fiscal year.”