Fairfax County School Board members voted themselves a $1,000-a-year raise at last week's meeting -- boosting salaries from $4,000 to $5,500 a year, the maximum amount allowed under Virginia law.
A new law passed by the General Assembly also provides and additional $500 for the chairman. Chairman Ann P. Kahn urged her colleagues to pay the Fairfax chairman an amount equal to the other nine members, but was rebuffed by other board members who praised the effort Kahn gives to her board.
"If Madame Chairman is afraid she won't be considered equal, let me assure you, you will," joked board member Gary Jones, as the board approved the raises, including the $500 chairman's differential.
Other matters before the board included a lengthy legislative package which was approved and will be presented to legislators by the school system's lobbyist in Richmond.
During the citizen participation segment of the meeting, Rick Nelson, president of the Fairfax Federation of Teachers, suggested the school board save money and cut waste by reducing the number of administrators hired and increasing the number of classroom teachers.
According to Nelson, the number of teachers hired since 1972 has increased 8 percent; the number of principals, 1 percent; assistant principals, 20 percent; instructional supervisors, 249 percent, and professional administrators, 79 percent.
"Do we need to hire one administrator for every two teachers?" Nelson asked. "Administrators think we need more administrators, of course . . . We believe this community will support spending for direct instruction. What the community will not support is waste and it should not be asked to do so."
Superintendent Linton Deck told the board he would formally respond to Nelson's report at next week's school board meeting.