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'Paying teachers is the right thing to do' | Northam proposes plan to increase Virginia teachers' pay

This latest raise will push Virginia’s teacher pay above the national average.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — There could soon be more money going into Virginia educators' pockets as Gov. Ralph Northam pushes for a 10% raise for commonwealth teachers.

Northam announced Monday that he plans to introduce a two-year budget proposal next week that would not only fund public education but is set to push Virginia’s teacher pay above the national average.

“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 said in a statement.

Under his regime, Northam has already increased teachers' salaries by more than 10% and he plans to add another 10% out of his proposed $2.4 billion budget increase for public education.

The plan is to increase teacher pay by 5% a year in each of the next two budget years, for a total increase of 10.25%. 

Northam said the proposed budget increase came from a significant increase in federal and state pandemic relief dollars. This includes 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, according to a statement released by the governor's office.

The budget also includes funds to hire counselors --- considering that school counselors are now responsible for 325 students on average.

Once introduced to state legislators next week, the proposal will be examined by the budget committee for the next steps.

The announcement was a part of Northam's 'Thank You, Virginia' Tour held at Alexandria City High School, Westside Elementary School in Roanoke and Glen Allen High School.

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