Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bowerbank Helps Secure Funding for Public Schools

One of the primary reasons that I believe Jon Bowerbank will make an excellent Lt. Governor is his passion for our education system. As a prime example of how Jon realizes that we must provide students with the best education possible can be seen through his actions as a member of the Russell County Board of Supervisors. At the Board’s meeting on Monday evening, Jon helped to secure passage of $1.6 million in General Obligation school bonds -- much of which will go towards improving school buildings and making them safer and more energy efficient. Here’s just part of Bowerbank’s reaction to the board’s decision.
"As the parent of three children, two who currently attend Russell County Public Schools, I am pleased to approve these bonds which will provide funding for education projects that our schools so desperately need. Like so many other parents, I depend on the public education system to prepare my children for the future, and nothing is more important to me. In fact, my son, Sean Thomas, currently attends Elk Garden Elementary school, which is one of the oldest continually used public school buildings in Virginia. Our children are competing in a modern global economy, and they should be learning in a 21st century educational environment. This money will help ensure our children have that chance.”
Of course one of the ways to ensure students receive the best education possible is to make sure that they have talented teachers. In order to attract the best teachers possible, Jon has advocated for a teacher pay increase in Russell County. They were able to significantly raise teacher salaries last year, but it looks like that could be more difficult to do this year.
"I am proud that we were able to raise teacher salaries by double-digits in Russell County last year. This year is going to be more difficult. With the economy struggling and revenues down an increase this year is no guarantee. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It is my priority, and the priority of all of our board members, to improve our schools and that means paying the people who teach our children the salary they deserve.

Russell County should be a leader in the effort to raise teacher pay and I am running for Lieutenant Governor because I want to be able to reward teachers across the Commonwealth for their service and commitment to my children and all of our children," said Bowerbank.
I think this is a very relevant discussion for the Lt. Governor’s race because school systems all across the Commonwealth are struggling with what type of action must be taken in regards to teacher salaries. As some local parents and educators pointed out, we must make sure we’re able to keep our best teachers in the classroom because they are able to provide our students with the skills to be a productive member of the 21st Century job market.
"I am grateful that Jon Bowerbank and the rest of the Board were able to secure so much funding for our schools, especially given the economic climate," said Richard Hess, a Russell County public school teacher and former President of the Russell County Education Association. "I also appreciated Jon's speech in favor of increasing teacher pay; Jon is fighting hard to get that in the budget. It shows that Jon understands the value of teachers and our struggle to stay in the profession while also making ends meet and providing for our families. This is a huge win for educators, parents and children in Russell County."
Especially during a time when Virginia is facing economic difficulties, investment in education is absolutely necessary because it allows students to receive the skill sets to help move our economy forward. I am very pleased to see that Bowerbank understands this and is already working to help improve our schools.

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