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Stafford places schools at a low priority


Date published: 12/4/2012

After reading The Free Lance-Star on Nov. 25 ["New-teacher pay a Spotsy concern"], I would hope that the Stafford County Board of Supervisors would hold their heads in shame!

However, I know that they will not, because education is not a priority with this group. Sadly, this attitude will eventually come back to cause the county heartache in the future. People will not move to a county where the educational system is inferior to surrounding counties.

The starting salaries featured on the front page are just one of the major problems facing Stafford public schools.

On Sept. 27, 2011, Stafford was ranked No. 7 on the list of the 15 richest counties in the nation with a median household income of $94,317.

Using Sperling's Best Places, on the Internet, to compare and contrast the cost of living in various surrounding areas I found the following:

Stafford is 33 percent more expensive than the city of Richmond and housing is 114 percent more in Stafford, yet a beginning teacher in the city of Richmond makes $43,059 and the beginning teacher in Stafford makes $36,685.

Stafford is 10 percent more expensive than Woodbridge and housing is 27 percent more expensive in Stafford. A beginning teacher in Prince William makes $44,048 vs. Stafford's $36,685.

Stafford is 11 percent more expensive than Spotsylvania with housing 28 percent more expensive in Stafford. Spotsylvania's first-year teacher makes $39,200 and Stafford's $36,685.

Compared to Louisa County, Stafford is 29 percent more expensive and housing is 85 percent more expensive in Stafford! Yet in Louisa, a beginning teacher makes $40,370. compared to Stafford's $36,685.

When you look at these numbers (even though Stafford's steps are somewhat higher than Spotsylvania), why would a first-year teacher come to Stafford? Even if he or she wanted to come, or is independently wealthy, how can he or she afford to live here?

Yes, Stafford is a wealthy county, but we cannot afford to pay our teachers what they are worth. Thus, we cannot attract the best and the brightest to teach here. What a sad situation for our children and our future.

Anne M. LeDoux

Stafford

Anne M. LeDoux is a retired Stafford County teacher.