Debate over Hanover crossing guard and supervisor's pricey paycheck

Published: May. 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM EDT
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HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A Hanover school crossing guard's paycheck is sparking a big debate. NBC 12 discovered he makes more, per hour, than the highest paid teacher in the county. Elton Wade is also a member of the Board of Supervisors with the authority to appoint members to the school board. Now some are questioning why he's making more than $40 an hour.

Right now, Hanover County schools are advertising for summer school teachers. It advertises the rate at $22 per hour but many want to know why that rate for a teacher is much less than what one crossing guard is making.

No one would argue crossing guards serve an important role helping our children. In Hanover, the average pay rate for a guard is anywhere from $10.69 to $19.07 per hour. But one guard, Elton Wade is making much more than that.

"I think most reasonable people would draw a conclusion that $41.25 an hour is ludicrous, it's off the charts," said Robert Shannon with the Mechanicsville Tea Party.

His group plans to bring this concern, among others, to the Board of Supervisors.

School district officials say there are other guards exceeding the average pay rate based on their years of service, but none make more than Wade, who has been with the district for 52 years.

The minimum average pay for a teacher in Hanover is $42,000 which

equates to about $20 an hour. That's nowhere close to the $41.25 an hour Wade is earning, which is even more than the hourly rate for the average highest paid teacher in Hanover. Wade only works four hours a day.

In a time of budget cuts, and teacher layoffs, Hanover residents say money matters.

"A little outrageous. I don't make $40 an hour," said Kaitlyn Colgrove.

"The school division does not have records that reflect all the factors that over the course of his 52 year employment have affected Mr. Wade's current level of compensation," Superintendent Jamelle Wilson said in an email to a concerned resident.

Supervisor Wade says he contacted a Commonwealth Attorney before joining the Board of Supervisors and was told there was no conflict of interest. He says he doesn't understand all of the fuss over his pay.

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