Teacher pleads for raises

Published 10:50 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The pleas for teacher raises started in City Council chambers at Wednesday night’s meeting, but council members reiterated that they don’t control whether teachers and other school employees get raises.

“Yet again the possibility of a pay increase is in jeopardy of being denied,” teacher Bonnie Wagner said during the meeting’s late speaker portion. “You are demoralizing and dispiriting your teachers and staff. This district is hemorrhaging good, experienced teachers to surrounding districts that pay them better and value them more.”

Wagner also added the district is gaining a reputation as a bad place to work.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

The city has yet to reveal its budget proposal, but City Council members said at the March 5 meeting that there likely would be no money for raises for city or school employees.

At its March 13 meeting, the School Board grappled with whether to stick to their guns on the superintendent’s proposed budget, which asks for an extra $3.5 million from the city, or come up with other options. The superintendent’s budget would give a 3-percent raise to teachers and a 2-percent raise to other employees.

Later in this week’s meeting, Councilman Charles Parr noted the city gave a $3 million increase to the schools last year.

“Once we give them the money, we don’t control what they do with it,” Parr said.

Vice Mayor Charles Brown said he, too, values education. His wife retired from the Suffolk Public Schools system after more than 40 years, he said. He also noted last year’s $3 million boost over the prior year, which was accomplished by raising taxes.

“I thought that $3 million was going to go for raises,” he said. “We can’t give them a raise. I think they should go ask the School Board for a raise.”

City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn and Superintendent Deran Whitney have been meeting to discuss the budgets.