WVEA's Lee said Boone school workers face Aug. 1 deadline

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WVEA's Lee said Boone school workers face Aug. 1 deadline
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

MADISON, W.Va. — Boone County school system workers have until Monday to decide whether or not to keep their jobs which now include cuts in salaries and benefits, West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said.

“The employees received a letter just recently that tells them if they want to leave the system they have to resign by Aug. 1. If they don’t resign by Aug. 1 they won’t be released from their contracts this year,” Lee said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline” just a few hours before the WVEA was set to host its first of a series of meetings with Boone County school system workers.

The Boone County Board of Education approved a new budget earlier this month that includes a cut in supplemental pay and the elimination of eye and dental insurance. The supplemental pay cut means professional employees are losing about $4,000 in salary alone and service personnel approximately $3,800.

The local school board faced a system takeover from the state Board of Education had it not cut its previously approved budget by $6 million. State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano said the system would run out of money by next spring if the cuts weren’t made. Boone County has lost millions of dollars in tax revenue because of the deep decline of the coal industry.

The exodus of workers from the system has already begun, Lee said.

“They’ve already had several who have been employed in other counties. So all of this is driving good teachers away. It’s making it much harder to attract teachers to Boone County. I can’t imagine the number of vacancies they are going to have,” he said.

Thursday evening’s meeting, scheduled for six o’clock at the Danville Community Center, would be an attempt to clear up a lot of misinformation that’s going through the county, Lee said, adding the controversy could have been avoided.

“There’s yet to be a meeting where all of the stakeholders go to the table and say ‘Here’s what we have. Here’s the pot of money that needs to be divided. Now let’s come up with ideas on how to do this,’ that hasn’t happened,” Lee said.