County shortchanges teachers

In her article on the No Child Left Behind legislation, Sheila Pell makes a very common, but often erroneous, assumption when she writes that "Wealthier [school] districts, with their higher property tax base, can afford the costs of success: higher teacher salaries and training programs, newer materials and equipment, more field trips, and so on."

Considering the context of her article, the clear implication is that Albemarle County pays higher teacher salaries than does Charlottesville. While that seems logical, that is not the case. In fact, even though it has a much lower ability to fund education, Charlottesville (and Fluvanna) generally pay their teachers better than Albemarle County does, and that is especially true for more experienced teachers. Not only does it generally pay better, but also the city provides its teachers with a more generous benefits plan than does the county.

Albemarle County, one of the most affluent counties in Virginia, groups itself for salary comparison purposes primarily with less- and much less-affluent localities. Even though the county has one of the highest composite indexes in the state– a measure that the General Assembly's Joint Legislative and Audit Commission says effectively measures a locality's ability to fund services– the county purposely short changes its employees, and perhaps especially its teachers.

Shame on Albemarle County.

Mark Crockett
Kents Store