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State lawmakers agree to raise teacher pay, but localities will have to pitch in

Mallory Noe-Payne
/
Radio IQ

All 140 members of the Virginia General Assembly were back at the Capitol this week to resolve a longstanding feud over the budget. The compromise includes raises for teachers.

Teachers across Virginia will be getting a three percent raise in each of the next two fiscal years. That's one of the new spending items in a compromise between Democrats who control the General Assembly and the Republican governor. James Fedderman at the Virginia Education Association says three percent is great, although getting to the national average would take 12%.

"We're currently $6,000 under the national average," Fedderman explains. "But even with getting educators to the national average, many of these raises are not accounting for the increased gas costs, food costs, medication; there's just a lot."

And nothing is guaranteed says Freddy Mejia at the Commonwealth Institute.

"The localities also have a commitment that they need to pony up in order to ensure that state funding," Mejia says. "So, localities would need to provide [a] 1.5% increase on their side to access the state funds."

If local governments can't afford to pay their share, teachers in those struggling school divisions would not get any raise at all.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Updated: May 14, 2024 at 3:14 PM EDT
Editor's note: The Virginia Education Association is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.