Is a pay raise in the works for Virginia teachers?
Lt Governor Tim Kaine wants to raise teacher salaries by more than $3,000.
Superintendent of Waynesboro Schools Lowell Lemons said he is just one of many who supports the average teacher salary increase to $43,000.
"I think it would be good for the Valley, maybe teachers would be flocking to our schools instead of rural Virginia," said Lemons.
According to Lemons, valley schools need a boost. The starting salary of a teacher in Waynesboro is $30,000. Compared to Augusta County's starting salary $28,000 and Rockingham County's salary of $28,444, the Valley is due for an increase.
"We need the help if we want to attract and keep good educators," said Lemmons.
Kaine's plan would amend the state constitution to require state government to provide some level of funding for public education. As of right now, the state constitution puts the burden of public education on localities.
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Teacher Salaries for 2000-2001
Beginning teacher salaries have continued to improve in response to the nationwide teacher shortage, increasing more than four percent in each of the past two years. On the other hand, the pay hike for experienced teachers was less impressive in 2000-01, increasing just 3.4 percent over the prior year.
Improved pay for new teachers helps school districts compete for new college graduates, but these graduates are receiving average offers of $42,712 in fields other than teaching, while the average salary for beginning teachers is just under $29,000.
Teacher salaries vary considerably across the states. Connecticut had the highest average salary at $53,507. The other top five states were California at $52,480, New Jersey at $51,955, New York at $51,020 and Michigan at $50,515. South Dakota had the lowest average salary at $30,265.
A couple of states increased teacher salaries by an unusual amount in 2000-01. California teacher salaries spiked 10.1 percent, improving the state’s rank from seventh to second. Oklahoma raised its rank from 50th to 48th by providing the largest increase of any state—10.2 percent. Other than California and Oklahoma, no other state had an increase exceeding 6 percent. Average salaries in Hawaii declined due to increased hiring of new teachers to replace experienced teachers who retired. Mississippi, New Jersey and New York had salary increases of less than 1 percent.
Teacher Salary in 2000-01 State Rankings
of U.S. Average
|8||District of Columbia||$48,488||112.1%|
Source: www.aft.org (American Federation of Teachers Web site) contributed to this report.