Wagner backs higher pay for teachers

October 27, 2000

Wagner backs higher pay for teachers

Editor's note: This is the seventh in a series of stories about Washington County Board of Education candidates.

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

Board of Education candidate Bernadette Wagner's plans to improve the Washington County school system are plenty.

Her ideas include raising teachers' salaries, creating a mentoring program for newer teachers, increasing teacher reimbursement for continuing education and consolidating health insurance plans of Board of Education, county, city and Hagerstown Community College employees and other local groups to save money.

"By improving buying power we could purchase better health insurance at less cost for our teachers," Wagner said.

Wagner, 43, is one of eight candidates vying for four open seats. The election is Nov. 7. She and Roxanne Ober are campaigning as a team, but voters can vote for both or one or the other.


"Like Roxanne, I, too, believe the more we invest in our teachers the more we invest in our children," Wagner said. "... We need to make Washington County schools a system where teachers want to be hired and advance through their careers."

Wagner said if the four-period day is implemented throughout the school system, teachers should be given adequate training to make the change from a seven-period day.

She also thinks the Board of Education should make it a point to boost communication with its employees and the community.

"We need to improve the communication between the elected school board, the administration and the parents and community," Wagner said. "We want to welcome parents into the education process and to see them as part of the solution rather than a problem."

"The school board must remain responsive and accountable to the children, parents and taxpayers ..."

Wagner spent five years as a public school speech pathologist and has also coached and taught preschool. She is married and has five children in Washington County public schools.

She thinks the Board of Education needs to expand its educational opportunities in the trades so more students who aren't college-bound can graduate and find a job in their specialty.

"There are students who would prefer to do that than be pushed into the college track," she said. "We need to provide them an education that affords them an opportunity to be constructive, giving members of society ... and making more than the minimum wage."

School board members receive $4,800 annually. The president gets $100 more.

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