In an announcement that he will be running for a seat on the Prince William County School Board, Roy Coffey said Friday that if elected, he will search for a way to pay teachers better, see that all children in the county receive a good general education and be receptive to the needs of county parents.
Coffey, 51, also told a crowd of 30 supporters gathered at Kilroy’s Restaurant in Woodbridge at about 7:30 p.m., that if people in the Woodbridge District didn’t know him yet, they would soon.
“I will be in your neighborhoods throughout this campaign knocking on doors to let people get to know me and the ideas and ideals that I stand for,” said Coffey, who is running for the seat Steven Keen, Woodbridge District, will vacate to make a run at the School Board chairmanship.
Coffey said he believes students are well served by achieving the required scores on the Standards of Learning tests, but also said that educational standards should not judged by test scores alone.
“There’s general education kids need outside of what the federal government wants to test and what the state government wants to test. We can’t neglect that,” he said.
On the issue of teacher’s salaries, Coffey said it is imperative that the School Board recognize that superior pay in surrounding counties reduces the already shallow pool of qualified teachers available to Prince William County Public Schools.
“We need to be close to what’s being paid in the region so that we don’t lose teachers to other jurisdictions,” he said. “We need to pay teachers for what they do. Teachers are grossly underpaid everywhere.”
Former School Board member Dennis Stewart showed up a Kilroy’s to support Coffey.
Stewart said Coffey’s experience as a superintendent’s appointee to the Special Education Advisory Committee and his service on several PTO boards as well as the Community Service Board qualify him for a seat on the school board.
“He’s been involved in the schools and he’s been involved in education for decades,” said Stewart, who held the Woodbridge District seat between 1992 and 1996.
Stewart said Coffey, so far, is running unopposed.
“Right now I haven’t got a clue who could run against him,” Stewart said .
Coffey said he is particularly interested in parents’ ideas about education and has an idea about how to reach out to them.
“I personally want to try to have regular town meetings to hear the concerns of all parents,” he said.
Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.