I want to preface this letter by saying that I have the highest respect for our School Board and administration, many of whom inspired me to go into the education field as my career of choice. Without their guidance and mentoring I would not have had the success I have had at Penn State over the past two years. In addition to that the few times I have spoken to Dr. William Clark he has always been pleasant, helpful, and engaging, which is very inspiring to a young college student.
That being said, I believe that is is completely irresponsible for the Board of School Directors to grant him a 2 percent raise in the midst of the budget crisis our school district is facing. I often tell people that one of the hardest days of my life was seeing the reaction of the teachers who were furloughed during my time as the student representative.
It was quite demoralizing a young person going into the field of education to see how many people who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives were now facing the question of how they would pay the bills, would they have a job next year, and what would the future hold?
The very next year I found myself in the School District of Philadelphia shadow teaching at Central High School where the city was facing a $300 million crisis of dynamic proportions. Once again I was exposed to the negative consequences of budget cuts as many teacher and students realized that their schooling experience would not be the same with the loss of librarians, guidance counselors, school, and athletics. It broke my heart knowing that the fiscal irresponsibility of Philadelphia’s municipality would dramatically affect the educational quality of the students in my classroom.
Education in Warren County will be difference next year for the worse given the loss of quality educators and staff that make students’ experiences what they are and allow them to achieve t heir dreams.
The education I was able to receive at Warren Area High School allowed me in 2012 and my brother this past year to gain acceptance into one of the top 50 universities in the nation in Penn State.
The superintendent’s position is the highest honor in educational administration and is the metaphorical general of a school district with the teachers and staff serving as their troops.
However, if Dr. Clark accepts this pay raise he will be leaving his troops behind as they wait, hope4 ad pray that a position will be available next year. If Dr. Clark happens to read this letter I hope he asks himself whether that $2,850 is completely necessary, given the expected loss of jobs, curriculum, and tax increases coming Warren County’s way. In addition I hope our elected officials ask themselves whether raising an already comfortable salary in the crosswinds of sacrifice and selflessness is really what the people elected you to do. Most of Warren County already knows the answer to those two questions, but let us wait and see if the people in the arena do.
John G. Wortman