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Counties must find a way to pay teachers

Date published: 3/26/2013

Benjamin Pitts was right ["Spotsy supervisors to keep tax rates the same," March 13] that there is no more room to cut and we (Spotsylvania, Stafford, Culpeper, Fauquier, and Rappahannock counties) are reaching "a point where the bone begins to bleed [and lack of funding will] affect the quality of [life]."

Such decisions have far-reaching consequences. Rare is the gift to teach; rarer still is the patience and fortitude to do so effectively. Do not require that teachers be martyrs for their profession, too. It is not right, fair, or necessary.

Tough decisions--the ones that matter--are never cheap or easy, but test character. Nobody likes tax increases, yet we pay to defend our freedoms, so why shirk our obligation to those who educate children? Stand firm for principles and values of a good education.

Teachers: If April 9 does not see support for funding schools, give districts exactly what they pay for, and leave at the end of the day and take no work home. Work to the rule. Use the unpaid time to find a second or third job--perhaps tutoring, working with home-school programs, pursuing an entrepreneurial dream, or reconnecting with family, but no longer sacrifice for those who will not sacrifice for you.

Young teachers might take spring break to look for another job or career, because no pay raise this year will mean no pay raise the next, a well-established pattern of the last few years. You have already seen a decrease in pay and increase in workload; something those sequestered will soon experience, too.

At what point does the cycle of no pay raise/no step increase end? When elected officials do what is right, even if not popular.

Greg and Lynn Miller