To the Editor,
On Sunday, Oct 27, 2013, the Evening Review and The Weirton Daily Times published the salaries of Hancock County School administrators. Salaries were listed individually in chart form, but the accompanying article made no mention to the chart's relevance. Also, the chart merely displayed amounts, but did not provide specific details of responsibilities such as hours of work, contracted days and administrative duties. The public should also be aware that teacher and administrator raises are state mandated and are based on years of experience, education level and certification area. While the information published by the newspapers is accessible through the Freedom of Information Act, the manner of publication was disappointing. Hancock County Schools has always experienced a healthy and respectful relationship with the local press, and the communication of salaries in said manner was unfortunate and harmful to the school system's mission and purpose - to educate children, all children regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender or disability. Hancock County employees work diligently to educate all children.
Some information given to the reporter of record was curiously omitted. More than $100,000 has been eliminated in administrative salaries this year. Subsequently, it is easily surmised that the publisher and the reporter attempted to imply that the crux of the excess levy is intended to supplement administrative salaries. This is absolutely false. The publishers wish the readers to falsely infer that tax dollars will primarily be used for undeserved high salaries. It is also curious to note that this information was published in the Sunday edition, the day before early voting began, even though the upcoming levy information had been given to the reporter in detail in early October of this year. One can only assume that publishing information in such a manner was done to imply imprudence. Any attempt to cast anything but a positive view in this upcoming levy has the potential to have a devastating effect on the education of the children in Hancock County Schools. If this levy fails, special education programs will be cut. Extracurricular services will be cut. Teaching positions will be cut resulting in higher average class sizes. School security will be compromised.
Schools represent the heart and soul of a community. If the levy succeeds, then the community will continue to enjoy the vast array of services provided by the schools; however, if the levy fails, due to the hidden agenda of the local press, the community will fail its most valuable asset - its children. It is inconceivable as educators who seek to make a difference in children's lives to understand why any taxpayer would vote against a levy which costs no additional taxes to support our children. It is even more difficult to accept why a local newspaper would do anything to trivialize importance of this operating levy. This levy is about education. This is about safety. This is about children. This is about the future. Please stand with us, not against us. It is for our childrens' sake.
Frank Carey, President
Hancock County Principals/