Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Roanoke County Board of Supervisors avert wrath of teachers

Chairman Mike Altizer

Chairman Mike Altizer

UPDATE Dec 1: At the 3:00 Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday a compromise was reached. Every Roanoke County employee will receive a $500 bonus. Bonuses will come from the over-funded medical contingency fund into which both employees and Roanoke County have contributed. However the bonuses will not be available before Christmas. A public hearing is scheduled for the next Board of Supervisors meeting on December 15. Outgoing Vice-Chair Joe McNamara hoped it would satisfy all. Board member “Butch Church” advocated for a public hearing.

Nov. 30: Tammy Wood, president of the Roanoke County Education Association and science teacher at Northside High School will address the Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s 3:00 PM meeting. Wood will voice teacher frustration over the loss of the planned $750 bonuses for full-time Roanoke County teachers.

The School Board voted to pursue the one-time bonuses for school employees. The bonuses were to come from the over-funded medical insurance contingency fund. Teachers contribute a good portion of their salary to the fund.

In a statement Wood plans to express their frustration over the treatment they’ve received by the Board of Supervisors.

The School Board asked for the issue to be on the board agenda but was refused.

Wood states that “we are disappointed that you will not consider the request of the School Board, that you removed the item from your agenda and that there will be no public hearing. The RCEA maintains that school employees expect and deserve your full consideration of this bonus.”

Wood will ask the board to reconsider and will make her plea saying:

“Teachers know well that times are hard. Many teachers have spouses who have lost their jobs or who have lost income. Education employees did not receive a raise for this year. Education employees have financial responsibilities and families to support. This money should come back to employees as they struggle to make ends meet. Much is expected of teachers, and they step up to the plate and deliver quality instruction with excellent results. They have larger classes and work with fewer resources. Receiving that bonus would make a real difference for education employees, especially during the holiday season.”

Why is the Board of Supervisors avoiding a public discussion and a public vote on this issue,” inferring that board members fear having their vote on the record. Chairman Altizer just ran for reelection and leads by only 16 votes against his Democratic opponent Pat Patterson, director of guidance at William Byrd High School. The vote recount continues. It has not gone unnoticed by the electorate that Altizer waited until after the November 3 election to announce the decision.

Thom Ryder, past president and Oak Grove 4th Grade teacher in an email put it bluntly:

“Teachers have experienced stressful conditions in the classroom withaccountability requirements ratcheting upwards. Despite that reality we’ve seen an increase in teacher/pupil ratio due to budget cuts. We have less money for supplies, and we are drawing more and more money from our own bank accounts just to make classroom ends meet. Additionally, with our salaries frozen, teacher morale has been quite low this year. The announcement by Chairman Altizer to deny our rightful bonuses crushed what was left of morale.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Roanoke County Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (2)


December 1st, 2009 at 9:17 AM    

If you think teacher morale is low this year you should talk to some of the students who are also experiencing fallout from all the “cuts.” Supplies are short, popular programs have been cut and next year is going to be even worse when some classes are going to be gone. I’m glad my son’s a senior and got to experience the computer programming courses at HVHS (his teacher was/is a wonderful person) as I understand they will be becoming extinct soon. My son said he could already see the difference in the skill sets of the incoming freshman class since the laptop program has been scaled back. My daughter still has two years left but luckily she attends Burton so I’m hoping her education experience won’t suffer too much.


December 1st, 2009 at 12:20 PM    

Yes I fear it will be getting much worse as education is cut at the state level even more.

I hope the new governor-elect puts education as his first priority but I’m not holding my breath.

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