I am a fourth-grade teacher at Pettingill School. During my 30-year career, I have worked closely with educational technicians. I have appreciated greatly their contribution to the learning of my students.

Of late, educational technicians have come to play an increasingly important role in the learning of special education students.

Three years ago, Pettingill adopted the inclusion model to better address the needs of its special education population. The inclusion model allows special education students to remain in the classroom all day. That would not be possible without the supportive services of the educational technicians. Under the direction of the special education teacher, educational technicians individualize the learning experience so that special education students can be successful.

On March 16, the Lewiston Education Association and the School Committee met to review a report issued by a panel of state-appointed impartial fact-finders on unresolved issues in the negotiations for the 156 educational technicians. The fact-finders recommended increasing the pay of educational technicians. The school committee, so far, has refused to implement the recommendation.

Educational technicians play a vital role in the learning process. Even though their contracts expired last September, they continue to do what it takes to ensure that their students meet their potential, often working longer than their contractual hours. They deserve a contract that recognizes their true value, or else these professionals may be forced to leave the field of education. What a loss that would be for the students of Lewiston.

Carmen Dufresne, Auburn