VEA seeks pay raises
The Virginia Education Association or VEA is asking the General Assembly for a three percent pay raise for public school employees during the next legislative session. Craig Carper reports.
The VEA says after hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts over the past several years, with state revenues starting to slowly increase, it's time to start reinvesting in the classroom.
Kitty Boitnott, the President of the VEA, says after years of eliminations of positions through attrition and retirement and increased workload and frozen salaries for remaining staff, Virginia’s educators have reached a breaking point.
Boitnott: Over half of our young people are leaving the classroom within five to seven years because they’re not getting the salary increases they need. They want to start families, they want to buy a house, they have other expenses and they find that they simply cannot afford to do the things that they’d like to do on a teacher’s salary.
Teachers in the Commonwealth earn on average just under $50,000 annually, compared to the national average of $55,000, though with the average skewed by significantly higher salaries in Northern Virginia, many educators in the Commonwealth earn far less.
The proposed raises would include support personnel and hourly workers as well as teachers and cost the state 110 million dollars annually, something Boitnott says is a small price to pay for quality education. Though with all state agencies being asked to produce additional cut plans and strong opposition to tax increases by the Governor and the Republican-controlled House, the VEA faces a steep uphill battle.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square