"GIVE ME A BREAK" - State Superintendents Pay Raise Appalling

(02/25/2004)

I just wanted to take a minute to drop you a note and just express my disgust over the situation with the WV State Superintendent of Schools. First he resigns, then he decides not to after he is offered a $50,000 plus pay raise!

Hopefully I am not the only person that sees something very wrong with this situation.

My husband, Luke, and I are both certified teachers from West Virginia. We both love the state and would love to (or would have loved to) teach in our home state. We are young teachers and we are giving our talents to a school in Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

Just to let you know where I am coming from ... I recently had the highest test scores in the county in 7th grade mathematics on a mid-year assessment. There are seven 7th grade teachers in the county. Luke is a choir director and his four choirs have already recorded a CD and are selling it. They plan on recording another CD at the spring concert and selling it as well. My point is, we are excellent teachers and all of our talent is going to the more privileged children on Kent Island in Maryland.

We simply could not afford to stay in West Virginia with the salaries as low as they are. It is more expensive to live here, yes, however, we are making a combined $19,000 more here in Maryland. Just for numbers sake, we make $34,500 per year here and the average starting salary in WV is $25,000 per year. Then imagine my hurt and anger when I read that not only is the WV State Super making $200,000 per year but that he would be the 3rd highest salary in the US.

You have got to be kidding me! I'm appalled. I just keep sitting here shaking my head. I can't stay in WV because if I do then I can't afford to pay for my housing, day care and pay off student loans, but someone with a salary of nearly $150,000 per year, (in WV mind you ... that could go quite far as all of you know) now gets a $50,000.00 per year raise. I'm simply dumbfounded.

West Virginia schools can't afford to keep the teachers that they have. They can't afford all of the materials they need. WV schools have fund raisers to pay for paper and Xerox machines ... As the guy on 20/20 would say "Give me a break!"

Jennifer Mullenax Whitehair