Kirk Smith, the Republican chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, said in an email obtained by The Rant that teachers in Lee County shouldn’t receive an increase in supplemental pay due to the “mediocre performance” by local public schools on North Carolina’s school report cards.
The email, dated April 23 and sent to other members of the Board of Commissioners, indicates that Lee County’s teacher supplement, $4,586, is well above the North Carolina average ($2,842), and the 14th highest of the state’s 115 school districts.
Smith then wrote that “Lee County’s data is not reflective of the substantial supplement we pay our teachers” and went on to list the grades earned by Lee County’s public schools on report cards for the 2019-2020 school year, noting one A grade, one B grade, nine C grades, and three D grades.
“In light of the rather mediocre performance, I really don’t see the need to increase the supplement. I suggest we keep it at the current rate allowing the schools to work on improving their performance,” Smith wrote.
Critics of the state’s school report card system have said that it’s more reflective of the economic demographics of its students than of the actual quality of teachers and schools.
Supplemental teacher pay is set by counties on top of the pay for educators that comes from the state and helps them to be competitive in recruiting teachers. The email was written about a month before The Sanford Herald reported that Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Andy Bryan requested supplement increases of 10 to 12 percent for certified employees and 5 percent for non-certified employees. Bryan noted at the time, according to the article, that it had been 21 years since coaches have received a supplement increase.
In the end, the decision about supplements will be made by the school board, which is given a lump sum by the county and then has to decide how to spend it.
Lee County’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22 includes a 1.5 cent property tax decrease. The budget proposal includes a $378,000 increase in funding for the schools, which is below the $1.3 million increase the district has requested.
Unbelievable! And how ironic…on his best day, Kirk Smith could only dream of being “mediocre.”
As a decorated military veteran myself, your words disgust me.
Kirk Smith, on a bad day, would not even be considered average.
The only “mediocrity” is people with too much time and not enough to do.
I am a Veteran my oath of enlistment has no expiration date, I will stand and defend what I believe is right , will you?
I’m so tired of hum drum politics…
None of you could handle a classroom…
Teachers have not had a raise in 10 years minimum…
Shameful, just shameful…
Hope you all sleep well…
Actually, teachers automatically get a raise every year up to a certain amount of years. I’m not sure where this “teachers haven’t received a raise in over 10 years” is coming from.
Only during the first 15 years do they get a mediocre step raise each year. Those of us who are veteran teachers don’t get a raise between 15 and 25 years. A 25 year teacher makes the same as a 15 year teacher. What’s the incentive to stay? We had a teacher leave at the 15 year mark because of this. Another left to go to law school. These are just two examples of many.
Did anyone else notice the date of Commissioner Smith’s email? The County Commissioners did not hear from the superintendent and Board of Education until 21 May. So, he had already made up his mind well in advance, regardless of what he was told that day. Why bother even hearing from them then? Did anyone else bother to attend that meeting on 21 May or watch the video? Yet more attempts from county Republicans to embarrass citizens and county staff in public, that fell short as usual. Let’s take the Chair, Commissioner Smith. He wanted to know why the county school system had failed to report any progress last year in the form of their “report card.” He had to be reminded that due to COVID-19, there were no end-of-year tests administered last year to produce this data. Vice-Chair Lavallee then proceeded to ask what curriculum was mandated by the state. She had to be informed that the state only provided standards. Commissioner Knecht provided nothing of any substance. Just a few condescending, smug remarks. Why should he care about the county educational staff when his children go to private school? To his credit, after a rather embarrassing start to his tenure as a commissioner, Commissioner Carver does seem to be the lone member from either party, that acts as if he is trying to learn more about the public education system, how it functions and how it is funded. For this, he should be given credit.
Let’s be clear, this was merely another thinly veiled attempt to feed the Republican members of this body with questions, by the Womacks. Their disdain for the county public education system and its employees does not go unnoticed, no matter how many times SL Womack claims she hears from anonymous members of the school system about problems during BoE meetings. The voters of Lee County, particularly educators and other school staff, need to remember these stunts on election day. These supplements are meant to attract and retain the best talent to Lee County and make up for the paltry salaries they receive from the state. Our teachers have had a tumultuous year. They deserve it. Next year is the last year of Lavallee’s term. She has to run for reelection or give up her seat. It is time to put someone on there, regardless of party affiliation, that is more than just another puppet of the Womacks.
Does this idiot not remember that school year we had a pandemic and students never finished the school year?
“Idiot” is the operative word. 🤯
This is proof: North Carolina just hates schools. NC hates its colleges, it hates its public schools, and it hates teachers.
Common sense man…
Let’s treat our teachers of Lee County better!!!
They have been to HELL and back …
How about a Thank you , or better yet
the raise they have deserved for 10 plus years now !!!
Amen! Invest in our teachers! Invest in our schools!
I must admit that I don’t know the in’s and out’s of the funding of our schools. however, As a parent with a school age student that goes to a Lee County public school. I will say that our main focus before paying faculty and staff more money, which they do deserve, we should focus on making sure the teachers have the resources they need to actually teach. How many years have our teachers had to beg for donations of paper, markers, toilet paper, tissue and anything else they need to operate their classes. It is ridiculous that our teachers and schools have to ask for donations to teach the children.We want to point out the county has had low academic standing for years, long before COVID yet we do nothing to provide teachers and staff the resources they need to teach. Everyone wants to link paying teachers more to improved education. This is flawed logic, giving someone more money does not improve their ability to teach. Improving the conditions and resources the teachers have will improve their ability to teach. By all means increase teachers pay, but give them the tools they need first. If we are to attach money to the performance of the schools then the only way to do that properly is to ensure the schools have what they need to teach, then evaluate their performance and pay bonuses accordingly. Our students and teachers need proper facilities to teach in, not aluminum trailers. We need to evaluate our curriculum and adjust it to ensure our students are prepared for the technological advancements of tomorrow. We need to implement technology based education opportunities for students. We do no favors for our students spending time and resources on social issues. Young people can achieve great things and can handle much more than people give them credit for. They can’t achieve anything if we don’t provide them with the education they need. As a nation our education system is failing our students and as a result we are failing our future. Lee County does not have to be like the rest of the nation. We can focus on providing a real education opportunity for our kids.
Teachers, students and parents have all seen tough months during the pandemic.. lets get that behind us and concentrate on a new year of classroom teaching this fall. The money is there for extra $$ and I believe they deserve every penny of it.
Lee County has one of the highest tax rates in NC. Lee County voters decided to build a soccer complex. So the voters not Mr. Smith decided playing soccer is more important than education.
That’s the problem. We will invest in sports before education.
Oh good grief. Dont get me started on bad teaching. Lets give everyone a 10/12% raise regardless of their profession. Its laughable to give some a raise that didnt even show up for work…
What will help students learn the essentials to make it in the real world, a $.30 pencil or a $30 pencil? A $4600 teacher salary or a $6600 salary teacher? None of the above. It’s what is taught not how much $$$$$$ is spent. Good for Mr. Smith who is focuses on what matters, our student’s education.
His comments are typical. Take a look at the number of teachers leaving public education for private education. His uninformed opinions are that of a politician catering to his party agenda. I wonder what would happen if our public education system was fully funded. People like him want miracles with a shoestring budget.