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Berkeley County Schools superintendent's letter to employees

March 13, 2007

Editor's note: The following is a letter from Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon to employees of the school district.

March 12, 2007

Dear Berkeley County Schools' Employee,

The 2007 West Virginia legislative session concluded with some progress made in assisting the Eastern Panhandle as we experience growth and struggle to make salaries more competitive with the surrounding states.

The Berkeley County Board of Education and your senior administrative staff have been striving to provide benefits such as the Housing Allowance and the Sick Leave Bonus. I will make additional recommendations to supplement our employee benefit package to the Board as part of the 2007-08 budget process.

Due to the pending Berkeley County Education Association's walkout, I am asking you to consider the following before making your decision:

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1. The pay scale approved by the state gives a 3.5% increase in addition to changes in step increments approved last year. Please see attached pay scale.

2. Additional funds were freed up by the passage of Senate Bill 541 for more local taxes to be used for salary purposes. This will result in additional salary benefits for Berkeley County employees during the 2007-2008 school term.

3. Berkeley County has been identified by Senate Bill 541 as an extraordinary growth county which provides approximately $700,000 available for additional salaries in 2007-2008.

4. Increased excess levy dollars will be used to continue to provide employee benefits and salary increases.

In summary the full salary and benefits package for Berkeley County employees for next year is not complete. In addition to the already approved state 3.5% pay raise, it is our intention to use increased levy funds and money from Senate Bill 541 to supplement Berkeley County employees' salaries.

As your Superintendent, I am asking you to report to school on Wednesday. A work stoppage has the potential to erode our overwhelming community support and jeopardize future bonds and levies. Our community, parents, and students in the Eastern Panhandle support our schools. Our community is fighting for you. Our students deserve Highly Qualified teachers and you deserve a competitive salary, but a work stoppage is not the answer.

Sincerely,
Manny P. Arvon II
Superintendent

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