LTE: Don’t Erode Loudoun’s Teacher Benefits

A Leesburg resident and teacher at Ashburn school urges attendance at Feb. 27 LEA rally.

Here we go again, but this time, the Loudoun School Board and Board of Supervisors have devised a new strategy to justify ideological cuts with little regard for the continued erosion of our schools. Fortunately, there is a way that you, as parents, can tell your elected officials to stop doing this. Please consider joining teachers and staff at the Loudoun Education Association rally to "Fund Their Future" at the Government Center in Leesburg at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.

[Read Leesburg Today’s report about the school budget.]

Rather than targeting teacher and staff paychecks directly this time, the School Board has figured out how to fund their cuts by increasing the cost of benefits to current employees and slashing their benefits in the future.

Did you know that the proposed LCPS budget, despite reflecting modest increases, does not even cover inflation, nor student growth? That's right, Loudoun, not only are your teachers being told to do more with less, but they are being told to do it for more students.

The bulk of the LCPS budget consists of employee compensation and wages. By targeting this, the School Board will make it impossible to pay teachers here a living wage. Loudoun will become unable to attract and retain the high-quality teachers that you expect your children to have.

You've probably heard that Loudoun County has the highest per-capita income across the United States. Why, then, can't we pay our teachers a wage that allows them to live here? How can teachers focus on the job of educating students when they must take on a second or third job in order to keep up with inflation? What will happen in your child's classroom if good teachers feel compelled to move to neighboring counties?

Parent and community support through your presence at LEA’s "Fund Their Future" rally on the 27th and by communicating your concerns about fully funding the School Board's budget directly to the Board of Supervisors will help stop this erosion of your schools.

David Palanzi
Leesburg, VA
Business and IT teacher at Stone Bridge High School since 2001

joe brewer February 19, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Using Kaiser numbers the employee pays 27% or 4316 dollars out of 15,745 as the employer pays the other 11,429. Heathcare was a raise given to the teachers in lieu of a money raise. Health care has continued to skyrocket so in turn does the money Loudoun County pays for the teachers healthcare costs. When the teachers start paying about 27% instead of 10% then they can complain.
Concerned February 19, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Teachers have been frozen on the same step for the last five years. We have been asked to give more to our pensions that LCPS used to fund, and considerably more in healthcare. Our paychecks have continued therefore to decrease each year, while student numbers go up. Additionally, we have been told this year that our salary depends on the goals we have set and evaluation procedures, but our paychecks keep shrinking. The median household incomes of Loudoun County are ranked first, yet we are paid lower than neighboring counties. Now, our health insurance also costs more, and pensions are less.
Dan Johnson February 20, 2013 at 01:58 PM
The linked article says "employees who choose the more expensive plan will be asked to make up the difference, but employees who switch to the less expensive plan could save as much as $1,499 a year." How does the "lesser plan" affect out-of-pocket medical expenses with what resulting net "savings" to teachers and staff would result? What troubles me a bit more is the quote of Mr. Fox at the end implying that the requested budget is above inflation, student growth, or both. While it may or may not be the case (I really don't know) that the superintendant's original request technically exceeded the line Mr. Fox drew, Dr. Hatrick is surely savvy enough to weigh the politics carefully and craft what he submits to the School Board accordingly. Regardless, anyone attempting to draw a line in the sand needs to demonstrate consideration of whatever ground that teachers and other LCPS employees have already lost in recent years with respect to growth and inflation. (Why don't we see those clearly laid out?) It's deceptive to imply that the new budget cycle started from a level field. These are real people who will see real impacts in their bottom lines, and unlike most other occupations, the effects are more likely than not to be felt by our children, meaning our future. I'm all for real, creative, and effective structural changes to reduce the impact on taxpayers, but cuts in search of justification don't measure up.
Teacher Post February 24, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Say what you will, but I have taught for LCPS for almost ten years now, and have seen little support or glimmer of hope in regards to a raise. Our class sizes have been increased, as have many other cost of living expenses. I am a young parent that has a difficult time paying her mortgage and daycare expenses. I have a masters degree, work hard to see my students excel and would love a little in return. I'm not asking for a handout or sympathy, just what is due.
DE February 28, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Yes, you may save that $1,499. a year in premiums, but you have a large deductable and after that a 20% co-pay. So you are not saving anything at all. I have been on that plan before and I am not a believer.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something