After ten years with no cost of living increment as mandated by our contract, after ten years of no step increase mandated by the contract, after doubling the insurance and retirement taken from checks, most teachers take home $600 less a month than they did ten years ago.
The governor says he doesn’t appreciate us trying to bully the government. He has sent a bill to the Legislature offering to give teachers a one — after ten years – one step increase. This is not the contract. Teachers aren’t asking for a gift.
We insist that we be put on the correct step, adjusted for inflation, as per the contract. We have rotted roofs now because we couldn’t afford a gallon of paint for years. Inflation, according to the U.S. Cost of Living Index, has been over 25 percent in ten years (in the V.I., maybe more).
Gas stations and groceries charge more each month, and it is passed to the government in more gross receipt taxes, and the government, in violation of its contract with teachers, has just kept it. We keep electing teachers, policemen, people who have served with us, and once elected, they fail to re-prioritize to respect their own.
Stanford Joines, St. Croix