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Teacher pay raise supported in Northumberland

by Madison White Franks

HEATHSVILLE—Support of a 4% salary increase for teachers was a reverberating topic April 12 when the Northumberland board of supervisors held a public hearing on a proposed $17.7 million 2018-19 school budget.

“We have such devoted and dedicated teachers in our system and we are asking more and more of them all the time,” said District 5 school board member Gayle Sterrett.

She referenced a safety training she and District 2 board member Mary Hooper attended on how to protect students if an active shooter were in the schools.

“We expect our teachers to do that and I didn’t see a soul there that didn’t expect to step up if they had to. I think we all need to appreciate and reward them for their work,” said Sterrett.

“Teachers are hard to find and talking to some of the teachers here, they like the area but the pay is what is causing them to have to leave,” said Hooper.

“I would appreciate if they would get the raise they are asking for. They aren’t out here striking…like teachers across the country,” said Steven Crockett, whose wife Alicia is a paraprofessional at the elementary school.

He said he has tried to get her to leave but she loves what she does.

Alicia Crockett, high school chemistry teacher Gary Dickens, and cafeteria worker Roam Giles said they would appreciate the raise.

“This budget is critical to provide key funding for new needed teaching positions and for the recruitment and retention of teachers along with keeping our hardworking staff that supports us every day,” said Northumberland Education Association president Shelby Brooks.

County administrator Luttrell Tadlock said the state code of Virginia required the board to wait seven days before voting to adopt the proposed budget but no date was set for the vote.

Other items

During the public comment period, Steven Crockett asked the board where citizens in the county could dispose of tires.

District 1 supervisor Joe Self said the county would look into this topic.

The board set a public hearing May 10 regarding the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Six-Year Secondary Road Plan.

The estimated total for fiscal year 2019 is $50,765. The six-year total is $286,123. Priorities include paving projects on Millwood Lane and Driftwood Trail, as well as intersection improvements on Mila Road.

The board passed two proclamations and three resolutions. Self moved to adopt them all and District 3 supervisor Jim Long seconded the motion. They passed unanimously, 4-0, with votes from District 4 supervisor Tommy Tomlin, District 5 supervisor Ronnie Jett, Self and Long. District 2 supervisor Richard Haynie was absent.

The proclamations recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention month and the National Public Safety Telecommunications week April 8-14.

Resolutions were adopted in memory of Juliane “Jan” Bates and Joseph Fletcher Staton. Bates dedicated her life to education and headed the reading recovery program in Northumberland by bringing literacy into homes of many families in the community. Staton served 43 years in Virginia’s Department of Transportation at the Warsaw Residency which includes Northumberland.

The third resolution recognized Bay Aging’s 40 years of distinguished service.

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