SCOTT COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – The Scott County Board of Supervisors voted to not provide teachers with a raise after county educators demonstrated and spoke in a public meeting.
The Board of Supervisors met Wednesday morning in Gate City to discuss the annual budget.
Scott County teachers had previously been promised the budget would include a five percent pay increase from the county. However, when educators learned that the budget could possibly not include the raise, they planned to demonstrate.
Several teachers gathered with signs on Wednesday morning ahead of the meeting.
One of the options on the table for the board’s consideration Wednesday morning was to include just over $238,000 in the school system’s budget, which the State of Virginia would then match with just over $1 million.
“You know, the increase that you would give us, bottom dollars – maybe $150, $200 extra a month – but I want that $1 million for the county students, okay? $238,000 to get $1 million – it’s a no-brainer, alright,” Scott County teacher Greg Hall said during the meeting.
Following the Board of Supervisors vote, state Del. Terry Kilgore said in a statement that the county’s school system will not receive the $1 million from the state.
“As the state Delegate for Scott County, I was proud that the General Assembly’sDel. Terry Kilgore
budget included funding to increase teacher pay, a profession that has long been underpaid.
In fact, the primary reason why I voted for the state budget was due to the 5% teacher pay
raise. For Scott County to receive over $1 million in state funding for teacher raises, the
county had to provide roughly $238,000. Due to their decision not to provide the funding,
Scott County Schools will not receive the nearly $1 million from the Commonwealth—most
likely the only county in Virginia to reject this funding.”
One board member said she did not think the Scott County educators needed more money in order to improve the level of education.
“And you might say, ‘well we get more money from the state of Virginia.’ More money does not translate into better education,” District 6 Supervisor Selma Hood said.
During the meeting, two members of the BOS spoke about how they believed there were other county issues that required the money ahead of the pay increase. Some board members cited not wanting to raise taxes as a more pressing issue.
Several teachers, teacher union members, and the school superintendent spoke in front of the BOS, asking supervisors to include the raise in the annual budget.
“Have you ever been responsible for helping the future children of the workforce, who later on become doctors, lawyers, nurses, custodians, all important jobs? Have you ever held your bladder so long that you had UTI’s and bladder infections?” Scott County teacher Jennifer Oaks said. “And I know it’s funny, but it’s what we do, we can’t wait till lunch break so we can run to the bathroom.”
Board members brought up the fact that if the teachers received a raise, county employees would not get one. One county teacher asked when the county employees last got a raise, which was July 2020.
Following those statements, teachers erupted with comments about how the board members were being contradictory.
Board members also reminded teachers that they received a $1,000 bonus, which they claimed was similar to receiving a raise.
Supervisors voted on three possible options:
- Give teachers the pay increase
- Give both the teachers and Scott County employees a pay increase
- Provide neither with a pay increase
In a 4-2 vote, the motion to give teachers a raise failed. Supervisors chose to give neither teachers nor county employees a pay increase in the next fiscal year.
“Don’t think we are trying to do something detrimental to your employment or anything, we have got your back. That’s our responsibility, it’s to fund the school system, our part of it,” Board Chair Danny Mann told the teachers present at the meeting.
But to the teachers, it was not enough.
“It was the wrong decision, it was wrong for the students, it was wrong for all the citizens of Scott County. Our teachers, our employees, our school employees are worth that extra,” Kathy Musick, Virginia Professional Educators, said.
“You deserve a raise, but when you get to thinking, you send meals home to students that their parents can’t even furnish meals for the kids, but when you turn around and look at it, we in turn are going to have to turn around and raise taxes on those poor families,” Scott County District 1 Supervisor Darrel Jeter said.
The county’s budget is currently more than $27 million.
Scott County teachers will still receive a pay increase after the Scott County School Board secured a three percent raise from the school board’s budget.
The school board also voted on Tuesday night to allow school administration to create a tuition policy for out-of-state students. Prior to that vote, those students did not pay tuition.