Letter – Questions for School Board
Published 4:51 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
While I disagree with the recent modification to Policy INB that the Isle of Wight County School Board has pushed through, I am hopeful that they can now focus on addressing some of the actual issues our schools are facing.
Here is a short list of some critical issues that the board should be addressing:
- What are we doing to reduce absenteeism, which is threatening the accreditation status of Windsor High?
- What are we doing to improve employee recruitment and retention? Isle of Wight starting teacher salaries appear to be slightly below the salaries offered by other localities in the area, so bringing our salary table up to par with other localities could certainly help.
- What are we doing to improve the reliability of our bus system? It seems that we have a severe shortage of substitute bus drivers. What are we doing to try to rectify this?
- What are we doing to expand the pool of substitute teachers so that we do not need to split classes up when the teacher is absent? Could the School Board members fill in occasionally? It would give them a valuable view on what is happening in the classrooms, and it would help reduce the number of substitute teachers needed.
Finally, I would like to address Chairman John Collick’s comment about the likelihood of teachers leaving because of the recent policy change that the board pushed through over the opposition of both teachers and the community. While he hopes that “more conservative” teachers will come, I do not believe the issue is with politics or ideology. The issue is with the trust and respect, or lack thereof, shown to educators in general by the actions of the board.
If the words and actions of the board show that you neither trust nor respect teachers in general, why would teachers want to come work for you? Especially if they can get a higher starting salary at a neighboring school district that actually values their work?