I was just browsing around and ran into this site. I wish I had found it ages ago. It gives me hope that there are other para's out there dealing with the same issues I am. There doesn't seem to be much traffic here though. It would be wonderful if all the para's in PA could unite for better work contracts, conditions and money. After reading some posts I began wondering how many of you have unions in your schools that para's belong to? Where I am employed the para's belong to the Afscme union. Before we belonged we were way underpaid, got laughable raises ($.05) , no paid holidays, 2 personal days and 4 sick days. and NO healthcare benefits, treated as 2nd class citizens. We finally got into a union after years of not being represented. We are now into our 2nd contract and things are much better than they used to be. Way better. We have a starting wage of $8.00 hr. for new hires, a consistant raise per year, 2 personal days, 10 sick days, 12 paid holidays and healthcare/dental/eye that the whole district recieves that we pay 15% for along with co pays, which covers us over the summer months. I felt blessed after reading what some make and the benefits that aren't offered. We are still a long way from what I believe we are entited to, but we are still fine tuning our contract so that everything is clearly spelled out in black in white. We still have issues that come up that need addressed. It is so good that I have found somewhere I can come to, to ask questions, to get different opinions and veiw points or just know what other issues other para's in the state are dealing with. I will have to tell my fellow para's about this site. Hope everyone is enjoying a great summer!