50 Ways-Rockbridge

Research, Educate, Act

Education Talking Points: School Funding

50 Ways-Rockbridge

Educational Funding for the County Schools

 

In a nutshell Here, in a nutshell (with details to follow), is the problem with the lack of investment in education in Rockbridge County Schools.

 

  • There is a growing list of demands on teachers’ time with salary that does not keep up with the cost of living. Teachers’ salaries are already well below average of those in surrounding schools.

 

  • At the same time, we have a serious lack of funding for staffing and supplies.

 

  • This is a combination that leads to a compromised educational environment.  Morale weakens.  People start deciding that doing more with less is not actually that healthy and productive for anybody, especially the students.

 

  • The great diversity of needs and talents of our students is not addressed, and the potential of these students is not nurtured.

 

  • There are not enough adults in the schools and not enough is being done to ensure the safety and educational progress of our children.

 

  • The Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors (RCBoS) and the Rockbridge County School Board (RCSB) are not working together productively to advocate for the needs of the students and to provide adequate funding.

 

  • All stakeholders (parents, teachers, students, community members) need to put pressure on the elected boards to do their jobs.

 

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~~ Action Items   

 

  • Write letters to:

 

  • RC School Board:

 

 

 

BUFFALO DISTRICT

Wendy W. Lovell

7 Ringneck Road

Lexington, VA  24450

(540) 464-5515

wendy_lovell@rockbridge.k12.va.us

 

 

 

KERRS CREEK DISTRICT

Laurie Strong

355 Hackens Road

Lexington, VA  24450

(540) 463-9879

minimules@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATURAL BRIDGE DISTRICT

David B. McDaniel, Chairman

PO Box 702

Glasgow, VA  24555

(540) 258-2063

DMcDaniel@BBandT.com

 

 

SOUTH RIVER DISTRICT

Kevin Brooks

168 Troy Lane

Fairfield, VA  24435

(540) 377-2560

brooksfrfld@aol.com

 

WALKERS CREEK DISTRICT

Albert “Jay” Lewis, II, Vice-Chairman

PO Box 9

Rockbridge Baths, VA  24473

(540) 570-5095

lewisforschools@gmail.com

 

 

ithghangov            Thurs

 

  • RC Board of Supervisors:

Information


Buffalo

John M. Higgins

131 Moores School Lane

Lexington, VA 24450

540-460-7079 C

buffalosupervisor@yahoo.com

 

Kerrs Creek

Russell S. Ford

686 Enfield Road

P.O. Box 1407

Lexington, VA 24450

540-463-9609 H

540-460-6750 C

rford@rockbridge.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Bridge

David W. Hinty, Jr.

933 Falling Spring Rd

Glasgow, VA 24555

540-784-0709 C

david.hinty@yahoo.com

 

South River

Ronnie R. Campbell

127 TEM Lane

Raphine, VA 24472

540-377-6148 H

southriversupervisor@co.rockbridge.va.us

 

Walkers Creek

Albert W. Lewis, Jr

16 McCurdy Lane

Rockbridge Baths, VA 24473

540-348-5197 H

540-570-5094 C

buster@mountainviewfarm.biz


 

  • Lexington City City Council

 

Frank W. Friedman [mayor]    FFriedman@lexingtonva.gov

Marylin E. Alexander              MAlexander@lexingtonva.gov

Michele F. Hentz                      MHentz@lexingtonva.gov

  1. Patrick Rhamey, Jr.               prhamey@lexingtonva.gov

David Sigler                             dsigler@lexingtonva.gov

Charles “Chuck” Smith             CSmith@lexingtonva.gov

Leslie C. Straughan                  LStraughan@lexingtonva.gov

 

 

  • Lexington City School Board

 


Mr. Rick Cruze (Chair)

13 Maple Lane

Lexington, VA 24450

(H)540-464-4081

rcruze@lexedu.org

 

Mr. Owen Collins

110 Meyers Street

Lexington, VA 24450

(H)540-462-3919

ocollins@lexedu.org

 

Mrs. Jeannie VanNess

(Vice-Chair)

604 McCorkle Drive

Lexington, VA 24450

(H)540-463-6851

jvanness@lexedu.org

 

 

Mr. Timothy Diette

908 Shenandoah Road

Lexington, VA 24450

(H)540-319-0362

tdiette@lexedu.org

 

Mrs. Miranda Edwards

512 Fairview Place

Lexington, VA 24450

(H)540-784-3843

medwards@lexedu.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. Scott Jefferies

Superintendent

Lexington City School Board

300 Diamond Street

Lexington, VA 24450

540-463-7146

540-464-5230(fax)

sjefferies@lexedu.org

 

 

 

  • The News-Gazette: Darryl Woodson:
    • editor@thenews-gazette.com / 463-3113 / P.O. Box 1153, Lexington, VA 24450

 

  • The Rockbridge Advocate: Doug Harwood:
    • rbadvocate@embarqmail.com / 463 – 2062 / P.O. Box 70, Lexington, VA 24450

 

 

  • Attend meetings of the bodies mentioned above, and request meetings with them.

 

  • RCSB:                      2nd Tuesday of each month, 5 PM;

usually Rockbridge County Adminstration Building, 150 S. Main St. Lexington

http://www.rockbridge.k12.va.us/school_board.html

 

  • RCBoS: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month, 5:30 PM;

Rockbridge County Adminstration Building, 150 S. Main St. Lexington

http://www.co.rockbridge.va.us/144/Board-of-Supervisors

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~~ Talking Points:

 

Factors contributing to inadequate funding of schools:

  • Lack of opportunity for input from teachers and building level administrators.
    • The school level administrators are not given enough of a role in the budget process.
    • Thus, the needs of the schools are not properly understood at the level of the two boards.
  • The RCBoS has never set a high enough priority on investing in education.
    • The portion of County spending that goes to the schools has dropped markedly over the years.
  • The RCSB has fallen into a defeatist mode whereby they expect they will not get what they need for the schools, and therefore request less than they need. The BoS never fails to live down to expectations, and never  provides what is needed, nor even what is requested.
  • Lack of transparency in budgeting in the RCPS.
    • There are too many questions that do not have answers which are accessible to those below the SB and to the BoS, leading to…
  • RCBoS attempts to micro-manage the schools’ budget because they do not know and thus do not trust how the money is being spent.
  • Consequently, dealings between the two boards continue to be plagued by a lack of trust.
    • There is a widespread feeling among teachers that these two entities need to do more to overcome personal animosity to do what is right for the students.
  • The SB needs to make a stronger case for the needs of the schools, and to do a better job at educating the public and enlisting public support.
  • The BoS needs to decide that the overall well being of the area depends on properly funded schools.

 

 

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Problems stemming from inadequate funding of schools:

 

  • Staffing needs: Here is what the RCSB said about its staffing needs:
    • “Over the past several years, the School Board has identified instructional needs requiring additional teaching staff at the elementary school level for art, Physical Education, and Gifted Education, as well as Instructional Technology Support at the high school level. CTE and vocational programs are growing at the middle and high schools levels and also require additional positions.  Two positions will not meet the needs, but will offer a step in providing needed instructional programming.”
    • The SB does not even mention other staffing needs for the high school.
      • Math and Special Ed at RCHS are in particularly dire straits for next eyar.
    • They only requested two positions, and the request was denied by the RCBoS.

 

  • Insufficient staffing can lead to over-crowding in required classes, special education classes, and a reduction in the variety of offerings, and in opportunities for advanced level study in, e.g., AP, Honors, Dual Enrollment, Career and Technological Education (CTE) classes. This negatively impacts students of all different academic levels and interests.

 

 

  • Teacher pay: Here is what the RCSB said about teacher pay:
    • “RCPS does not meet average salary expectations when compared to State Salary averages, Averages from School Divisions ‘adjacent’ to Rockbridge County, or Averages from School Divisions of similar size to Rockbridge County. A One-step salary increase [emphasis mine] will not make up any salary disparities, but it will reduce the rate at which we are falling behind other school divisions.”
    • The norm everywhere and always in public education is that each year teachers take a step up the salary scale. This is usually less than the typical increase in the cost of living, and generally leaves teachers lagging behind.  From time to time this is remedied by a raise in the overall pay scale so that teachers will occasionally get both a step on the scale and an actual raise the same year.  We do not get rich that way, but at least we see some progress as we work through our careers.
    • RCPS teachers are now actually making less than they were ten years when you take into account the cost of living over that time period. The annual step up the scale each year has become a thing of the past.  That is to say that with the recession, it seems to have been forgot by everyone but the teachers that this had been a standard part of the budget each year.  Now it is a perennial fight to get even a step up, and this distracts from other elements of the budget, especially when it looks every year like those greedy teachers are looking for another raise.  When we do get it, it is called a raise.
    • This is a problem that our School Board has allowed to become ingrained. They have grown to accept that we will not go back to a regular salary scale which teachers climb over the years.
    • They know full well that RCPS teacher salaries lag far behind where they should be, and yet they do not even demand that we be allowed to keep up with the cost of living each year.

 

 

  • Resulting problems:
  • The eroding viability of teaching as a career choice.
  • Difficulty in attracting and retaining trained / quality teachers:
    • % or teachers with provisional license:
      • 4% 2013-14     à          6%     2014-15   à          10%     2015-16
    • % teachers with master’s degree:
      • 57% 2013-14     à          53%    2014-15     à          48%    2015-16

 

 

  • SOL’s & Graduation rates
  • SOLs are a cycle of remediation and retakes.
  • Very labor intensive efforts to get students passing SOL testing (small classes, opportunity for personal attention – especially important for students with IEPs and 504s and meeting their legally required needs).
  • These efforts are needed to maintain / increase graduation rates.

 

  • Teachers continue to pay for materials for their classes out of their own pockets.
    • Department budgets are not adequate.
    • According to a recent yearbook survey, teachers at this school spend close to $11,000 annually out of their own pockets in order to benefit their students.
    • Labs and other activities that are currently not funded might need to be cut. This would be done to the detriment of the students.

 

  • Department Chair Duties
    • One glaring example of the exploitation of teachers is the fact that department heads are required to perform about a hundred hours of administrative work per year with NO compensation.
    • At most other schools this is compensated.
    • About three quarters of these department heads are women.

 

 

 

 

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