Former Boone County Teacher Speaks Out About His Decision to Resign

By Hillary Hall, Reporter

BOONE COUNTY, WV –
Victor Lovett is one of nearly 40 teachers who left their jobs after the Boone County Board of education pushed through a budget that includes major cuts to employee pay and health benefits.

“I was truly upset that I was having to leave my home. It is completely unfair to have to make a decision like this,” said Lovett.

Lovett spent the last five years teaching English classes at Van. Jr. Sr. High School. In Spring, the Boone County Board of Education announced that 77 employees would be losing their jobs while dozens of others would be moved to different schools. Lovett was supposed to begin the 2016-2017 year at Scott High School, but said he knew that his future in the Boone County school system wasn’t promising.

Parents say that they can’t blame teachers for leaving, especially under such difficult circumstances.

“I wasn’t surprising in knowing that so many have had to look elsewhere. When you take such a huge pay cut and some of these families have two teacher households,” said Linnea Estep, a parent of two school aged boys.

With less than two weeks left until the start of the school year, the Boone County BOE has already posted job openings online. They hope to fill those positions, but will use substitute teachers in the meantime.

Parents worry that students might fall behind if they don’t have consistent teachers in their classrooms.

“I think that the teachers that we do have have the main focus of the kids and they have their best interest at heart. We just have to keep that morale up and hope that we have the best outcome for our kids,” said Linnea Estep.

Victor says his decision to leave Boone County Schools wasn’t about the money or health benefits, but knowing that more teacher layoffs could be on the horizon. While leaving the district was a logical choice in his eyes, he fears that students won’t get the academic and emotional support they previously received.

“There is no way that anyone in their right mind is going to jump into this mess. So what’s going to happen? Who knows? Truly. It’s horrifying to think about how much this is going to damage our kids all over the county,” said Victor Lovett.

In previous meetings, the West Virginia Department of Education has said the Boone County will likely have to cut more teaching positions in the future.