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Northam set to propose record funding for public education

virginia politics
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Gov. Ralph Northam will propose a two-year state budget next week that includes record funding for public education, including a 10 percent pay raise for teachers.

Virginia has already increased teacher salaries more than 10 percent under Northam—the largest increase in 15 years. This latest raise will push Virginia’s teacher pay above the national average.

“Paying teachers is the right thing to do, and a wise investment,” Northam said. “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.”

Northam’s proposal will increase compensation 5 percent a year in each of the next two budget years, for a cumulative increase of 10.25 percent. When matched by local funds, the increase will push compensation for the typical Virginia teacher above the national average.

Northam noted that local budgets have been significantly augmented by federal and state pandemic relief dollars. These funds include more than $1.3 billion of federal CARES Act dollars that Virginia allocated to localities in 2020, and another nearly $3 billion in federal ARPA funds (American Rescue Plan) for counties and cities in Virginia earlier this year.

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

“Virginia has taken dramatic steps to fund public education over the past two years, especially to raise teacher salaries and hire more counselors,” said Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn. “Virginia’s public schools are delivering for parents and students, and we all appreciate Gov. Northam taking this latest step to build an even stronger future.”

“There is no greater value for the taxpayer than investing in public education, which has far-reaching effects for all Virginians,” said Majority Leader Dick Saslaw. “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 Gov. Northam has delivered over these past four years.”

augusta free press
augusta free press