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Hampton EA Scores Win on Pay

Since the Hampton City school board ordered a pay cut of .8 percent earlier this year, Hampton Education Association (HEA) members have been organizing to overturn it. At a school board meeting Wednesday night, they scored a significant win, as the board approved payments of $500 to each full-time employee and $300 to each part-timer.

"This was a big win," HEA President Trina Francis said after the proposal was announced. HEA had been in close contact with the school board about restoring pay, and in November the Association presented a petition with more than 700 signatures of employees supporting a restoration. Hampton school employees had gone without raises for 2 years and the school division was the only one in the Peninsula to cut pay, Francis noted.

In her remarks to the school board, Francis said restoring pay will boost employee morale at a critical time. She added that federal stimulus dollars were available to fund the restoration and warned that if that money was not spent, it might be cited by General Assembly members "as evidence they were never needed in the first place."

Francis finished her remarks to applause from nearly 100 members of the HEA gathered at the meeting. Many of them waved signs spelling out "RESTORE."

LaVonne Hoffman, HEA vice-president, also addressed the board. "We understand saving for a rainy day," she said. "If you have not looked lately, it is pouring down on us now."

Under the plan later approved by the board, full-time employees earning less than $62,000 will end up with slightly higher pay this year, because the $500 payment will exceed the cut of .8 percent of their salary.

"HCS employees will be so excited," Francis said later in an interview. "We're trying to grow our membership and I think this will help bring them on board. We took a stand and showed we're fighting for everyone." HEA will continue to work this winter on improving salaries as the General Assembly and local officials prepare budgets for next year.


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