News Column

McDonnell Proposes 2 Percent Pay Raise for Teachers

Dec. 13, 2012

Olympia Meola

Virginia's public school teachers would see a 2 percent pay raise under Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed budget amendments, which would mark the first salary boost since 2007, but only if the legislature makes changes to the contract process.

McDonnell said today that he's including $58.7 million in the 2014 budget to support the state's share of cost equivalent to a 2 percent salary raise that would be effective July 1, 2013.

Teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, instructional aides, principals, and assistant principals would receive the pay raise, though participation would depend on a local match.

McDonnell proposes that the entire raise is contingent on tweaking the teacher contract process, a topic that was highly contentious in the last legislative session when a politically divided state Senate spiked his attempt to phase out a tenure-like system in favor of a three-year term contract process.

The Virginia Education Association strongly opposed the measure.

This year, McDonnell's seeking changes again as part of the so-called "Educator Fairness Act." It includes extending the window of a teacher's probation from 3 to 5 years and provides a definition of incompetence "to include one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations" and will "define the relationship between the evaluation and the contract."

It would also "streamline the grievance procedure," according to a release.

McDonnell will present his complete package of budget amendments to the legislature's money committees on Monday.

The VEA asks in its 2013 legislative agenda for the state's share of a 4 percent salary increase for school employees, arguing that in the current biennial budget, teachers are the only employee group not given a raise.

The VEA says that the state's teacher salary ranks 31st in the country -- $7,083 below the national average -- though the state is the 7th wealthiest states.

The current budget calls for a 2 percent salary raise for state workers and all state-supported local employees in mid-2013, contingent upon revenue performance. State workers will receive a 3 percent performance bonus this month and received one in December 2010.

McDonnell is also proposing incentives for teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and to create a Virginia Teacher's Cabinet and a strategic compensation grant initiative.

Source: (c)2012 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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