Clarification -- An article in Thursday's Extra misrepresented Kimberly Finnegan's views on the longer school year recently adopted for teachers. Although she believes that teachers should be paid more for the extra time, Finnegan, a teacher at Rolling Ridge Elementary School in Sterling, said she is a strong supporter of the new calendar, which builds five extra days of planning time into the schedule. (Published 12/19/1999)
Teachers will be required to work five additional days during the next school year, but they will not necessarily be paid more, the School Board decided Tuesday.
Board members voted 7 to 2 to increase the school year from 193 days to 198--despite opposition from some teachers--to carve out more time for lesson planning, training and meetings with parents and colleagues.
Under the new calendar, teachers will return to work Aug. 21. Their last day will be June 19, which is also graduation day.
"There is a strong need for more planning time and a regular program for staff development," School Board member Harry F. Holsinger (Blue Ridge) said.
Outgoing board members D. Kim Price-Munoz (Sterling) and Jeffrey M. Maged (Leesburg) said it was unfair to impose a longer school year on teachers without compensating them for it.
School Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III has offered a $16.7 million plan that would give teachers a 10 percent salary increase.
Teachers contend that their base salaries should be raised to cover an extended calendar and that the 10 percent raise should be added to the higher base. Many opponents of the calendar change predict that the Board of Supervisors will not fund Hatrick's proposal for such a large raise, even based on current salaries, and that teachers will be working longer for less money.
"They'll have the days, and then they won't have the salaries," Maged said. "That's the way it's going to pan out."
Donna Pozda, a teacher at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, said, "I feel that we are not going to get this money."
School Board Chairman Joseph W. Vogric (Dulles) said supervisors might be more likely to approve a raise for teachers if they are working a longer school year.
Hatrick initially wanted teachers to work seven extra days a year and an additional 15 minutes a day. But in the face of opposition, he revised his proposal over the weekend to maintain the current seven-hour day and extend the year by five days.
The School Board's action followed a chorus of protests from instructors who attended the meeting and spoke publicly against Hatrick's proposal.
"Days added, in fairness, require reasonable compensation," said Kimberly Finnegan, a teacher at Rolling Ridge Elementary School in Sterling.
She and many teachers have said that they want more planning time. But some instructors think they have to oppose the extended work year because they won't be paid for it, said Kelly Burk, president of the Loudoun Education Association.
"They do not oppose additional days to the calendar," she said. "Their objection centers on the compensation issues."
Price-Munoz said the issue should be decided by the new School Board, which takes office Jan. 4. Board member-elect Warren Geurin said he was "flabbergasted" that the calendar issue wasn't postponed until next month.
Geurin, whose wife is a teacher at Sterling Elementary School, said teachers should not be asked to work more without being paid for the extra time. He said he disagrees with Hatrick, who has said that the wage proposal should be viewed independently of the extended calendar.
"You can't really have one without the other," said Geurin, who will represent the Sterling District. He said he would support a budget amendment to add money for the additional days teachers must work.
Extending the calendar without adequate compensation also seems to contradict Hatrick's goal of making the district more attractive to prospective teachers, Geurin said.
"It is wrong to tell a teacher, in effect, that we're going to cut your pay," he said. "It is not a way to go out and attract and retain the best teachers."