10/06/2011: "Lopez School Staff Deserve Atta-Boy/Girl"
By Bill Evans
Whereas other communities around the country may be “waiting for Superman,” I have to tell you that on Lopez Island, at Lopez School, one does not have to look very far.
In the movie by the same name, one of the featured “experts” bemoaned the fact that by his observations, education in general was going to heck in a hand-basket in this country and he largely attributed that to the lack of quality educational staff in schools.
At Lopez School we have a team of dedicated, highly skilled, and student-focused educators that are doing the job of Supermen day after day, with every student and every job assignment which is placed in front of them. The level of commitment to do “what is best for children” is amazing and represents a true gift to the Lopez community.
One of the manifestations of this commitment to students is clearly evident in the sacrifices and collaborative efforts that all staff made to address last Spring’s unfortunate action by the state legislature to reduce employee salaries by 1.9% and administrative salaries by 3%.
Without threatening to strike, picketing, or other harmful actions to voice obvious frustrations and anger, Lopez staff made collective sacrifices that enabled the district to build a balanced budget that greatly reduced significant direct negative impact to the classrooms and students.
The teaching and other certificated staff accepted the new (reduced) state salary schedule without flinching, and also gave up a much valued day of inservice, for a total sacrifice of 4.4 days of pay. Ten-month classified staff volunteered to give up 3.6 days of paid work during non-student days, and twelve-month classified staff volunteered to take 5 non-pay furlough days during the year.
The newly hired administration accepted contracts that represented significantly less salary than the legislated 3% reduction for administrators would have called for. Despite these sacrifices, the sense of enthusiasm for the work, and love for young people as one walks our school hallways, is palpable. ‘Lopez School is a great place to be.
That these sacrifices by staff were voluntarily made and done with such a generous spirit of collaboration and commitment to students makes me immensely proud and humbled to be the leader of the Lopez Schools. I want to publicly thank the staff for their generosity. You are serving your community admirably!
(Bill Evans is the Lopez Island School District Superintendent)