Letter: Teacher massages ‘gross display of poor judgment’
A lifetime ago I served on the parent Teacher Association board at a Chesapeake elementary school. During the school year the Parent Teacher Association sponsored fundraisers. All the monies collected beyond expenses were used to purchase tangible items for the school that would provide benefit to students.
On Feb. 23, 2010 PTA funds were used to provide teachers at Lee-Jackson Elementary School massages. The massages were given during school hours utilizing teacher planning time. Mathews School Board chairman Jen Little explained to me on Wednesday evening, March 10, 2010, at a meeting of the Mathews School Board that the massages the teachers received were a gift from the PTA. It was further explained to me that since the teachers have to deal with the students all day that a relaxing massage would be of value to the teachers. For the PTA to provide massages to the teachers was a well-intentioned but misguided gesture.
I have no problem with anyone having a massage. I do believe it was at the least a gross display of poor judgment for massages to be provided to teachers on school property. Why were the teachers not given gift certificates? What about the teacher assistants? Were they also provided massages? If not, why not? Teacher assistants are deserving of appreciation.
My question is why teacher massages and not a new computer for Lee-Jackson Elementary School? Why no tangible donation to Lee-Jackson when there are tangible needs within the school? Could it be that the PTA is swimming in money?
Let us talk money. The Mathews School Board wants the Board of Supervisors to raise taxes on residents at a time when jobs are scarce, and incomes are decreasing. Additionally, citizens’ federal taxes are going to skyrocket. The elderly citizens of Mathews County have repeatedly reached down into their budgets to sacrifice so that they might purchase something they didn’t need in order to show their love and support to Mathews’s children and schools. However, now the elderly are hurting and yet the Mathews School Board insists everyone can handle a tax increase.
I agree with Joe Syslo’s letter to the editor last week ("Mathews school board rowing in circles") in which he stated, "…it seems many of us do understand the situation, and also understand the need for a new crew to row the boat." The current school board lacks a mindset capable of understanding that times are difficult for everyone.
Instead of hope we have despair. Instead of positive change we feel pain. Now is not the time for the Board of Supervisors to raise citizen taxes to serve the uncontrolled spending habits of the Mathews County School Board. Spending for Virginia schools has increased 68 percent in the last 10 years while the number of schooled students has increased only about 7.5 percent.
The Mathews Board of Supervisors should send the submitted school board budget back to the wayward school board for necessary adjustment. The Mathews County School Board must be responsible, frugal and live within its means.
Cobbs Creek, Va