Va. Gov. McDonnell to Announce Education Plans

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.-- On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Bob McDonnell will announce additions to his education initiatives. He says they are all an effort to improve state schools.

One of the initiatives previously proposed would raise teacher salaries by 2%.

An analysis of teacher salaries shows Valley teachers earn less money than other teachers throughout the state, according to data provided by the Virginia Dept. of Education. The average state teacher salary for fiscal year 2012 was $52,003. In comparison, teachers in Rockingham Co., Augusta Co., Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro averaged to make $43,905. That's close to an $8,000 difference.

Many of the school districts have seen teacher salaries decrease in recent years. Staunton School teachers lost nearly 3% of their salaries from the year before.

The governor's proposal would grant teachers a 2% raise, which would represent around an extra $1,000 for them. Nationwide, Virginia ranks 24th for average teacher salary.

McDonnell said in a release he is advocating for it because "Virginia's teachers are underpaid. Everyone knows a teacher who has stayed after school, worked with students during their lunch break and on weekends, and devoted all of their energy to making sure their students have every possible chance to learn."

Another part of his plan would redefine when teachers are no longer in their probationary period. The change would be from three to five years. That could cause fierce debate when the General Assembly takes up the matter. Members will start the session next week.


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