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Northam proposes 10% teacher raise, record K-12 funding


Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam plans to propose a 10% teacher raise and record funding for pre-K-12 public education in his budget proposal for next year, according to a Monday announcement.

Teacher salaries would increase by 5% in the first year of the two-year budget and by another 5% in the second year, which will provide a 10.25% increase from current salaries. This will put the commonwealth’s teachers’ salaries above the national average. The plan also includes a $2.4 billion increase in public education funding, which includes the costs of the higher salaries.

“Paying teachers is the right thing to do, and a wise investment,” Northam said in a statement. “Virginia has invested in teachers in a big way over these past four years, and now it’s time to do much more. Our country has asked teachers to carry a heavy load, especially during the pandemic. They have delivered, and they deserve to be rewarded. This raise is possible because of strong, steady fiscal stewardship. Virginia’s strong economy has delivered booming revenues. What we’ve been doing these four years is working, and Virginia should continue it.”

Although Northam will present his budget proposal to the General Assembly before leaving office in mid-January, the legislation will be taken up by the new lawmakers elected in 2020 and will need approval from the incoming Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin. During the election, Republicans took control of the House of Delegates and the governor will be a Republican, rather than a Democrat. Youngkin has said his education funding plan would increase money for schools and he is also a proponent of school choice and stronger parental influence in public education.

Democrats will maintain control of the Senate where there were no elections in 2020.

“There is no greater value for the taxpayer than investing in public education, which has far-reaching effects for all Virginians,” Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, said in a statement. “The education pipeline begins in Pre-K, continues through K-12 and into the handoff to post-secondary education or a workforce credential. But every investment costs money, and Governor Northam has delivered over these past four years.”

Secretary of Education Fran Bradford said a raise is important to recruit and retain good teachers.

“Teachers deserve to be paid more, and Governor Northam has delivered,” Bradford said in a statement. “That’s an important tool in recruiting and retaining talented teachers. It matters in normal times, and it’s critical today.”

Northam made this announcement at the start of his “Thank you, Virginia” tour. On Monday, he visited Alexandria City High School, Westside Elementary School in Roanoke, and Glen Allen High School.

This article was originally posted on Northam proposes 10% teacher raise, record K-12 funding

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