September 1, 2014

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"In Who’s Best Interest?"

Dear Editor,

In who’s best interest is it for the Pendleton County School District to fund the PhD of the superintendent? The members of the Pendleton County Board of Education need to revisit this decision and decide if it is in the best interest of the students of the district.

Mr. Strong was employed because of his great leadership abilities and his willingness to get the finances of the district repaired. He has helped to make the district more financially stable but it has been at the cost of staff members and the educational opportunities for the students of the district. An article in The Falmouth Outlook this past fall reported the progress Mr. Strong has made in achieving financial stability for the district. He was asked if any cuts had been made at Central Office level and he said five positions had been eliminated. What he failed to mention/report was that at least five positions with new titles had been created with pay index rate increases for the positions.  Pay increases to staff members in the district schools, with the exception of instructional coaches, have been minimal to say the least. During Mr. Strong’s first year with the district most teachers were lucky if they received a .5% increase. For some it meant at most an $18 increase in salary for the whole year. Divide that by 12, take out taxes and you don’t even have enough to buy one soft drink a month! Instructional coaches that same year had a pay index rate increase and for some, it meant an additional $5,000 - $6,000 a year! Some may do the work to earn that type of raise, but some probably do not. Instructional coaches are experienced teachers hired at a central office level to provide guidance and support for other teachers. Ultimately, it is the teachers in the classrooms that do most of the work preparing engaging lessons and activities for their students.