Coming out of negotiations this spring, Verona School District teachers and staff felt hopeful. In the face of unprecedented cuts in state aid to public schools, they were encouraged by the words of their administrators and School Board members about the value of shared sacrifice and the importance of pulling together to ensure a quality education for the district’s students.
Then, last week, the School Board gave district Superintendent Dean Gorrell a more than 7 percent raise.
Now many Verona teachers and support staff — education aides, cooks and custodians, among others — feel betrayed, both by their School Board and their administration. They say it’s not the additional money — just under $9,500 — that Gorrell will receive on top of his $130,000 annual salary, but the principle involved.
“It’s not the dollar figure,” insists Jennifer Murphy, a high school math teacher who is president of the Verona Area Education Association, the union representing the teachers.