Letter: School employees deserve our support
I am writing in response to the two letters last week in regards to our (Mathews) school budget, more specifically our teachers’ salaries. I would like to start out by saying that I believe these issues are similar to arguing about politics or religion. No one can win.
I do believe, though, that there is a bigger picture to be considered. At 56, I might not see the ramifications of an undesirable school system, but I know my adult children will be affected whether it is because they come back to Mathews and raise their families or because they will be left with our home which they will need to sell. Please note that I, like many others, am not interested in higher taxes and I also do not have a child in the school system. But I do realize the important impact our school system has on our community.
In a time when our numbers are dropping, as far as residents, it is important that we offer things that will attract families to our community. When we decided to move here, the major consideration was the school system. Had it not been adequate, we would have remained in Richmond, even though our desire was to live in a small waterfront community.
My hat goes off to all educators and, most importantly, those in Mathews County. It is with all of their hard work and dedication that my youngest son, along with many of his classmates, has been able to go off and further his education, while being able to compete academically with thousands from much larger and better financed school systems. I might not be on top of all statistics here in Mathews, but I do know that our graduation rate is 93.5 percent and of those that graduate, 88 percent go on to further their education.
I can assure those persons that know nothing of our school system that this most definitely would not be possible without dedicated and qualified teachers. I would be a little shocked if any individual in any work capacity would not be interested in pay raises each year—if nothing more than a cost-of-living raise. I doubt if our teachers will see that this year, but to suggest that they take a pay cut after not receiving raises for three years is a bit much. I want the community to know that Mathews Public Schools has been fully accredited for the past nine years. In addition, they have received numerous awards, such as the Geddy Award to MHS for technology, the VT Award for Excellence in Education for the Name to a Number program, and the Virginia Board of Education’s Competence to Excellence Award to Lee-Jackson Elementary School for a third consecutive year. These are not something that every locale receives.
I feel that this whole situation is way too important to be making sarcastic comments about anyone’s pet, but I do know that one trip to the school administration office will give any individual all the information about where our schools stand.
Port Haywood, Va.