The March 5th letter to the editor, "Of course you want a raise; don't we all?" misses a vital point. Almost any teacher in the Shenandoah County school system can get a raise if they want it, simply by going to teach at a better-paying school system in a nearby county, and sadly, more and more of them are doing so. Fortunately, a lot of very good teachers have remained loyal to our county and our kids, and they should be rewarded.
I think Superintendent Jeremy Raley is to be commended for putting together a conservative but realistic budget for our county's schools. For years, we have asked our teachers to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources as they try to prepare our children for an economy where they will have to compete against graduates of much better-funded school systems.
The simple reality is that good communities do not exist where there are bad schools. The quality of schools affects the local economy; growing businesses don't locate where there is not an educated workforce, or where their employees' children would be stuck in neglected schools.
There are some who would like to see our county as a minimum-services tax haven for retirees and people who don't care what kind of schools their children attend. I would rather see a growing and dynamic county that can attract new businesses and new residents. Raley's budget has taken the first step toward the latter vision; let's hope the supervisors will follow.
Dan Walsh, Edinburg