This is a sad (true) story. A friend of mine, also a teacher in Fluvanna, found out just Wednesday that she won’t be getting the salary step increase she thought she’d see next year. She expected thousands because the superintendent told her (and 300 other staff members) that it would be recommended, and her principal confirmed it, even printed it out for her. She actually bought a new car based on the expectation that she’d be able to handle the payment.
I was the one to tell her that the thousands she was counting on would likely be closer to $300. For the year. My point isn’t that her salary increase will probably be only a few hundred dollars, my point is that she didn’t know it.
The administration called staff together in February to share the good news that salary proposals for next year could restore old salary steps for legacy teachers. Details were provided about how the largest step might take 2 years to implement. It sounded so good that one person asked Ms. Keller to repeat the proposal, which she did.
The very next week she brought something completely different (the $300-$500 dollar increases) to the school board. Teachers weren’t directly informed. The date and time of the sch brd session was emailed, but no other information was included. Ditto for the sch brd meeting after that. Almost a month later, the superintendent’s budget proposal was emailed to staff, our first look at the new scale, if anyone had time to click on the attachment and examine it. But why would we? We thought we knew what was in it because we’d been told face to face.
No meeting was ever called to tell us about the drastic change, no emailed explanation was ever sent. Since my friend isn’t an FEA member, it’s easy to see why she didn’t know anything different from what her superintendent and principal had last told her.
I felt so sad for this teacher who worried about going home to tell her husband. On her behalf I’ll communicate to the school board that 1) our superintendent told us that she would propose restoring salary steps 2) within 10 days she proposed something completely different, a drastically reduced salary plan and 3) she did not effectively communicate the change. Actions like these can affect people’s lives.
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