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November 16, 2020 · OPINION

Questioning the bonuses granted school employees

Stock Photo
By John Green

Last Monday, the Fauquier County School Board approved Superintendent David Jeck’s plan to award all school division employees a $1,000 bonus. That’s net after taxes. The total cost is $2,849,845. That’s nearly 5 percent of last year’s school budget raised primarily through our property taxes.

Dr. Jeck tells us almost half the cost will come from the Cares Act, Community Reinvestment Fund, etc. I don’t know what “etc.” is. The other funds are PROJECTED savings or deferrals. Projected savings are just that — what they hope to save. Deferrals mean delayed to future time. The CARES Act are government funds intended to offset increased costs incurred in keeping our schools operating.

The Wuhan virus has impacted us all, young and old alike. It has challenged everyone. But we are in this together. Many, many people have seen their jobs or their businesses disappear. All kinds of businesses have shut down, some never to start again. Many people are in financial trouble through no fault of their own.

How many school employees have lost a paycheck since the pandemic started? Millions of Americans are suffering financial hardships. And many millions of American doctors, nurses, technicians, police, firemen, EMTs and many others continue to work and work without bonuses. Where is the logic in singling out FCPS employees for bonuses just for doing their jobs? These are difficult times. And we are all in this together.

The school board is elected by Fauquier County citizens. We pay for the schools. The school board didn’t seek our opinions. I hope this special treatment for one group doesn’t spread to other groups. We all need to do our jobs in these difficult times. And seeking to buy cooperation is not the way to go.
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Fauqyeah · December 11, 2020 at 12:56 am
I have friends and a parent who are teachers and I have to say, if we want good teachers, we need to consider paying more for certain subjects (STEM), and for certain qualifications (like working with special ed kids). There is a reason why it is difficult to find teachers in these subjects and it is mainly because it is basically volunteering vs what they can make in industry. My friend who was a literature major however, has been trying for years to get a full time teaching job but can't because there are plenty of English teachers. The teacher's salary would be better than the substitute teacher and barista jobs he currently does. Raising the salaries for all teachers to be competitive with what an engineer or chemist would make in the private sector is in no way feasible, but by offering bonuses or something for these hard to fill subjects maybe we can improve the overall quality of our kids' education.
Linda Ward · November 24, 2020 at 6:14 pm
I volunteered at our kids elementary school from Kindergarten to 5th grade to help the teachers, the librarian, anyone that needed a hand. It is the right thing to do if you can find the time, even one hour makes a big difference. To me the most important thing to do is teach your children manners and respect.

As a kid in school many years ago, running around the classroom and not listening earned us time in the corner, out in the hall, or being sent home. My teachers were even allowed to switch us with a willow switch if we misbehaved. Times have changed yet children should still be taught to behave properly in a classroom, restaurant, store, and public venue. And please stop blaming the teachers for your child being in trouble at school!
Savefauquiercounty2019 · November 20, 2020 at 6:37 pm
If you can't retain teachers, you won't retain the rest of the good people. These good people won't stay. Teachers are expected to perform many clerical duties unheard of years ago which saves tax payers monies. They do not have secretarial support. They work endless amounts of unpaid hours, which saves tax payers monies. They are parental counselors and behavioral therapists because the tax paying adults don't make their children behave. So all of you tax payers that want to continue to live in this area contribute your time free of charge to help public schools survive. If not, donate your funds to help raise monies for air conditioned buses so FC can retain bus drivers who have to ride in hot buses while driving these tax payers children to and fro. If you want to spare tax payers from paying more, volunteer as a sub. Let our teachers go home after work and not have the interruptions, the extras free of charge.
Silii · November 18, 2020 at 6:40 pm
Teachers and other eduational services staff put in a tremendous number of unpaid overtime hours. In addition, they buy supplies and other needed items for their classrooms and virtual lessons, out of pocket, no reimbursement. So, all of you, quit your childish griping and whining. Better still, apply for a teaching job, get into the system and see what it's like.
Greyhunter930 · November 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm
I think the school employees deserve it nobody knows all the hard work they do especially the cafeteria staff they work very hard and they don't get paid much they really deserve it after the amount of work extra they do. I think it's wonderful that all employees are getting the bonuses they deserve it !
AngryBob · November 17, 2020 at 9:29 am
While I wholeheartedly believe teachers are underpaid, I have to question the timing of these bonuses. Like others have said, no teacher missed a paycheck. They were basically on paid vacation from March until September as "virtual learning" for my kids was a 30 minute Zoom meeting once a week. And this while the rest of us are trying to make a living with our kids home 100% of the time.
Sammy · November 17, 2020 at 9:03 am
john green is anti-public education, never failing to take a swing at dr jeck -- green is a crank bent on ruining the community, tell him to move to west virginia where things are more to his liking, surely jeff american and virtus and the whole lot will join him, ghosts of fauquier past

"we are all in this together" he writes after decades of rejecting this community and its schools, shameful, reject his crackpot legacy in these pages
NewBmore · November 17, 2020 at 7:55 am
Being angry/jealous over a $1,000 bonus to teachers is so embarrassingly sad. If your underwear is in a bunch about not getting a tax holiday, pack your bags and move to a county that is dishing those out. Quit whining online.

This money would have been a drop in the bucket to the community at large, swallowed up in an instant. If you're looking for handouts, direct your frustrations to the sitting President and Mitch for failing to push through another aid package before letting the Senate take a vacation.
Demosthenes · November 17, 2020 at 7:08 am
When times are good the teachers ask for a raises, and we calmly explain to them "No, no, you don't get raises. Teachers should realize they give up higher wages for other benefits, like great job security."

Then when times are bad, we yell and complain, saying "It is ridiculous that these teachers have job security! They should suffer like everyone else."

Let's just pick one approach and stick to it, eh?
PabloCruz · November 17, 2020 at 6:35 am
You know who’s not upset about the teachers’ bonuses? All the people buying the $3.5 million “farms” every week here. Their real estate tax cuts are built in to the system. Only working people squabble about other workers getting a thousand bucks. This country was built for merchants and landowners. Nothing has changed.
Truepat · November 17, 2020 at 6:23 am
Obviously the supervisors don't ride around their jurisdictions and see all the for sale signs on houses and empty stores, especially in Warrenton. I am fortunate to be an essential employee under a Federal contract and haven't missed a day although I did get the virus, so I agree with Mark House, reduce the RE tax and PP tax. We've all been affected by the pandemic.......
RGLJA · November 17, 2020 at 5:43 am
The School Board is not supposed to be a group of cheerleaders for the school system. They are supposed to represent the citizens who elected them to oversee the school system in the taxpayer's best interests. Instead, they decided everybody gets a bonus using taxpayer money. For what? Their paychecks were never interrupted in the first place, unlike many taxpayers who actually lost their jobs due to Covid impact on businesses. This is not good.
Jennie · November 16, 2020 at 11:16 pm
I agree whole heartedly with Mark House. Instead of doing a sham reassessment of our property's to impose a higher tax, I would love to see a reduction in personal property and real estate taxes. We should, we as tax payers have a vote to give out $1000.00 bonus to school employees but I in no way condone this when millions have been out of work this last year (me included). It sickens me that Dr Jeck would even ask this of us in light of the past year. Shame on him!
Mark House · November 16, 2020 at 6:42 pm
The county has now jumped on the bonus bandwagon. Tell you what, I'd like a reduction in my personal property and real estate taxes too. Let's be fair here! Our elected officials are playing fast and lose with our tax dollars, just like the Federal Government.
FalconDad · November 16, 2020 at 6:16 pm
$2.8 million to people who’s paychecks have not skipped a beat. This will not happen.
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