How much money should Virginia teachers be paid? That’s an issue that’s about to take center stage in Richmond when the General Assembly meets next week.
Teacher salaries in Virginia trail the national average by about 14% and they’re lower than many nearby states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, and Kentucky.
Chris Duncombe at the Commonwealth Institute says that’s created a teacher shortage in Virginia.
“This has been a persistent issue, and is a reason why we have so many unfilled teacher positions throughout the state. The latest survey from the Department of Education has more than 1,000 unfilled positions.”
Jim Livingston at the Virginia Education Association says public schools never really recovered from the recession, and that’s created pressure at the local level to pick up the slack.
“Localities have been forced by the General Assembly to either invest more local money into K-12 education or to simply cut services.”
When lawmakers arrive in Richmond next week, they’ll be considering a proposal to increase teacher salaries 5%. Educators are hoping that might help address the teacher shortage, although lawmakers will have to weigh that proposal against other needs and balance the books before leaving town in March.
The Virginia Education Association is a financial supporter of RADIO IQ.