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How come Stafford raises all but teachers?

 Stafford schools budget explained.
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Date published: 3/28/2013

I am a lifelong resident of Stafford County. I am also a voter, a taxpayer, a parent of a Stafford County student, and a Stafford County teacher.

For four years, we have heard from our elected officials that "the sky is falling" and there is no money for teacher raises. While Stafford County has enjoyed a budget surplus for the past three years, our teachers and service personnel have received nothing in the way of increased compensation.

If there is no discretionary money in the budget for school employee raises, as the Board of Supervisors would like us to believe, why have county employees received two retroactive pay raises, an eight-month insurance-premium holiday, and a full 5 percent Virginia Retirement System contribution during the last year?

As county employees themselves, did the members of this Board of Supervisors also reap the rewards of this county-employee-only compensatory deal? Board members are county employees, and as such they most certainly did benefit from their own affirmative vote.

How can the Board justify giving so generously to one set of employees and not another? How can the Board justify spending taxpayer dollars for county employees and not school-system employees when there is no extra money to be spent? Why is taxpayer money overflowing for county employee raises, but non-existent for school employee raises?

As school employees, we are asking only that everyone receive a fair and competitive salary just like our counterparts across the street. It's time to stop hiding behind the veil of "fiscal conservatism" when the same rules do not apply to every working employee in the county.

I don't buy what Chairman Susan Stimpson is trying to sell the voting public, and neither should you.

Sophia Ryder