Hold Up on a Raise for Hatrick

It's summertime again, school's out, taxpayers are on vacation and our elected School Board is going to give Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III another raise ["School Board Weighs Second Hatrick Raise," June 27]. Like clockwork, under the cover of darkness (read, summer vacation) this School Board jumps when Mr. Hatrick requests something be done. I, for one, have never seen a group of 10 people that never disagree on any issue. We taxpayers should consider eliminating this School Board and future school boards, if, like this one, they are in lockstep with Mr. Hatrick every time. Let Mr. Hatrick continue to run the system by himself and we can save the board member's salaries (nine times $12,000 equals $108,000). We could then turn the auditorium at North Street into the expanded office space Mr. Hatrick so desperately needs.

In less than 3 1/2 years, Mr. Hatrick has received a 30.4 percent increase in pay and now is being considered for an additional raise on top of that. Don't forget the nice benefits package, health care, retirement, staff, car, etc. Feeding at the public trough comes easy when your motivation for a pay raise is based on what some other school district is paying. This is a groundless reason for a pay raise, but accepting this premise, let's compare Loudoun County against Fairfax County. Loudoun has a school population of 25,000. The Fairfax school population is 160,000. Loudoun has 42 schools. Fairfax has 235 schools. Loudoun has a full-time staff of 3,192. Fairfax has a full-time staff of 18,000. Loudoun runs 325 buses. Fairfax runs over 1,200 buses. I could continue to give you comparisons, but the Fairfax County school system is nearly 6 1/2 times larger than the Loudoun County school system. Mr. Hatrick now makes $120,000. Fairfax Superintendent Daniel A. Domenech is paid $159,000. With another pay increase of 10 percent for Hatrick, his pay could conceivably be at $132,000.00. With a comparatively much smaller school system, Hatrick is being overpaid at the present time.

Do you remember the budget battles this School Board continues to have with the Board of Supervisors? How shamelessly this superintendent and this School Board use the public's children to drum up support for their inflated budgets, using children to bring home pink sheets describing teacher layoffs and programs cuts? How low-rent can they get? Parents buy into this emotional turmoil thinking that full budgeting means top-quality schools. This school system can't even pass American History Standards of Learning tests with anything higher than a 32 percent test result. Parents in this county have proven that they will support full budgets and quality buildings. The failure with this system is that the children are being cheated out of a good education.

As a taxpayer here in Loudoun and knowing that all of us are faced with building over half a billion dollars in new schools, we need a moratorium on pay raises, especially for school administrators! It's much too easy for this School Board to give away my hard-earned money. Let's hold Mr. Hatrick and this School Board to a higher standard of accountability when it comes to SOL results and how much our children are really learning in these expensive buildings we call schools, then we might think about pay raises.

JOHN GALUSKI

Leesburg