Three request funding for teachers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

In the early session of the Suffolk School Board meeting held Thursday afternoon in city council chambers, three people came forward to address the seven-member panel on the subject of the school superintendent’s proposed 2004-2005 budget.

Lovey Lyons spoke to Superintendent Dr. Melvin R. Liverman from her perspective as a teacher in Suffolk Public Schools and president of the Education Association of Suffolk.

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She spoke for all members of the latter group in asking for an average salary increase of six percent, and she also noted that as health costs continue to rise, the employees of the school system would not actually see that increase.

&uot;Suffolk, over the last two years, has strived to take some of this burden for the employee,&uot; said Lyons. &uot;We hope you will continue to absorb as much of this cost as possible.&uot;

Lyons also said that at a time when the city is seeing a decrease in the number of qualified teachers, the association thanks Liverman for his proposal of the six percent increase for teachers.

&uot;To attract and retain quality teachers in Suffolk, we must be competitive,&uot; said Lyons. &uot;Please pass the budget as it has been presented to you.&uot;

The other two speakers at the school board meeting are substitute teachers with the school system. Both made the early appearance at 5 p.m. to request the board include their group in the 2004-2005 Fiscal Year budget proposed to Suffolk City Council.

Brenda Elliott, substitute teacher, pointed out that a non-degreed substitute teacher earns $7.86 an hour, with bus aides, cafeteria workers and custodians making only $1.56 an hour less.

Even if the substitute teacher receives and accepts a long-term assignment, they receive only 43 cents an hour more after the 15th day of their assignment. Elliott added that she believes minimum compensation for a long-term assignment should be the minimum salary for a &uot;regular&uot; teacher.

In his proposal to city council, Liverman requested $111 million. While teachers are asking for a six percent increase, the budget would give all other employees a 4 percent raise.

The budget was presented to the School Board last night and should be considered by City Council by May 5.