Va. Beach Education Association calls on board and superintendent to reconsider Saturday school

Posted at 10:44 PM, Feb 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-16 22:44:30-05

Virginia Beach, Va. – The Virginia Beach Education Association, a group that supports teachers, is calling on the superintendent to reconsider Saturday school as makeup days from the snowstorms.

“We are asking them to waive them, we want them to waive those Saturdays,” said Trenace Riggs, President of the VBEA.

This weekend students had their first taste of Saturday school, but two more Saturdays are on the calendar.

The decision to makes up the days on Saturdays was made by the superintendent. She has refused to discuss the topic directly with Newschannel 3.

“We were not asked, I was not consulted, I was not asked what my opinion was and hopefully in the future she will ask the school board their opinion,” said Beverly Anderson, a Virginia Beach School Board member.

The chairman of the board, Dan Edwards, said he does not think Saturday school is something they will reconsider, but Anderson said she plans to bring it up.

The VBEA argues the additional days are not needed. Five days were missed because of the snow, but Virginia Beach already has three additional days built into the school calendar and students and teachers have already made up two.

The school district claims it is not just about the days missed, but hours, claiming high school students are required to have a certain number. Riggs claims they are arguing over five hours.

“We are asking them, it would be five more hours, to ask for a waiver for that and the superintendent can do that,” said Riggs.

Edwards said he does not think a waiver is appropriate.

“Frankly, we feel we should be above the minimums, not below the minimums,” said Edwards.

In reality, Virginia Beach high schools are already below the minimum by four hours that were waived by the board.

Teachers were already paid for the days missed, and that is why some board members think the Saturday school is necessary.

Riggs said that is a slap in the face to many teachers who work countless hours that are never accounted for at home.

“We’re not nickeling and diming, an instructional day is about $3.8 million, so I would hesitate to look a taxpayer in the city of Virginia Beach in the eye and tell them that $3.8 million is a nickel or a dime,” said Edwards.

Anderson is in favor of longer school days to make up the time if any is needed.

Edwards said the first Saturday school day had about 80 percent attendance, but that they expected attendance to be down because they accommodated so many conflicts.