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March 26, 2019 · OPINION

“Victory” for Fauquier County public education

By Suzanne Sloane
Warrenton

As March Madness tips off, I cannot help but notice the similarities between building a championship basketball team and a championship-caliber school division. Winning involves designing the best game plan and executing the strategy through a team effort. It involves sharing the same vision and being intentional.
 
This, the team effort was in full effect. I want to extend my gratitude to all the Fauquier County Public Schools educators who came out to the board of supervisor’s budget public hearing and particularly to those who spoke in support of fully funding our school division’s budget. I watched with pride as educators came up one-by-one to the podium sharing their passionate stories with courage, often bringing tears to audience members’ eyes. Our appreciation goes to the supervisors also, who not only heard but also listened to our educators.
 
The month continued with the board of supervisors and the school board participating in a joint work session. Through this collaborative effort, both boards agreed to a funding plan that would raise teacher salaries to 92 to 100 percent of the market (school divisions including Albemarle, Culpeper, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Warren).
 
The progress made this month didn’t happen by chance. Instead, progress occurred thanks to the efforts of ALL players, and by sticking to the game plan. It was the result of intentional decisions, actions, and working as a team.To explain more of how we got here, I’d like to share the following truths:
 
TRUTH: At Fauquier County Public Schools, we work as one team with one mission — doing what is best for kids. Each one of our employees plays a vital role in the success of our students, and each deserves to be appropriately compensated. We love our people.

TRUTH: All school system employee groups are “compressed,” and our ultimate goal should be to bring all employee groups to 100 percent of the market. Given the enormity of this challenge, we planned to tackle this issue in phases.

TRUTH: Our actions followed the phased plan presented by the superintendent in February 2018:

• In the fiscal 2019 budget, we approved a 3-percent across-the-board raise for all employees and a market adjustment for certain groups, allocating monies to raise certain certified and classified employees to 90 percent of the market and administrators to 85 percent of the market.

• At that time, we ensured with our unwavering commitment that our fiscal 2020 budget would be focused on addressing teacher compensation and specifically, the teacher compression issue.
 
We are on the verge of a historic victory for education in Fauquier County. Our kids deserve the very best. This budget season is evidence of when we all work together; we can be champions for kids.

The writer represents Scott District on the Fauquier County School Board and serves as its chairman this year.
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Tell It Like It Is · April 8, 2019 at 6:30 am

While a few exceptional educators may deserve a bump, many do not and even when they do get it, the product they produce likely will not not improve.

Higher pay does not ensure better quality worker.

Just look at Washington DC and the federal government!

BestKeptSecrets · April 4, 2019 at 4:18 pm
Otherwise, please don't ever let this happen again. Teachers since the beginning of their profession have sacrificed way too much. Remember 78% of the profession are women and the pay needs to be equitable and fair compensation. This will help retain and attract professionals to the communities throughout Fauquier County. Please let the community know at the end of this school year 2018-19 how many teachers have quit and why. We need to know the statistics. The school board needs to consider paying a finder's fee. If a Fauquier County employee attracts a professional to the county, they deserve a finder's fee.
Mark House · March 29, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Our kids? There are not my kids! But there sure are my tax burden.
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