VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach principals are asking the Virginia General Assembly to follow through on a proposal to fund five percent raises for public school teachers.
At a Richmond rally Monday, principals Linda Hayes and Casey Conger joined thousands advocating for increased educational funding and teacher raises.
“It’s really important that we put the funding to retain higher qualified teachers,” Conger said. “The number one difference in a students life is the teacher in the classroom.”
A National Education Association report said Virginia ranks 34th in the country for average teacher salary.
Hayes and Conger represented the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals at the rally, where they spoke with multiple state delegates. Conger says each year, more teachers find second jobs to help make ends meet financially.
“As funding decreases and teachers haven’t seen the compensation and pay raises that you’ve seen in the private sector, it has been getting more and more difficult to retain big quality teacher,” she said.
Hayes said politicians need to fulfill promises to increase education funding and boost teacher salaries.
“Let’s put our money where we know it’s going to make the biggest benefit,” Hayes said. “When you educate a child you’re educating the future.”
The principals said they are encouraged by the rally and believe delegates will support the raises for teachers in this general assembly session.
In December, Governor Ralph Northam advocated for teacher raises in his budget proposal. Monday, Speaker of the House Kirk Cox released a statement saying the House budget would include five percent raises when it is released on Sunday.
Delegate Cheryl Turpin of the 85th District in Virginia Beach is one who is all in for the raise mentioned in the Governor's proposed budget. She said to retain good teachers, you have to pay them.
"Quality education is guaranteed in our constitution and every delegate, every General Assembly member should be behind this a hundred percent," she told 13News Now.