In Alexandria, Gov. Ralph Northam continued his efforts to increase teacher pay by proposing a 10% raise in his upcoming two-year state budget plan. Northan at ACHS
In Alexandria, Gov. Ralph Northam continued his efforts to increase teacher pay by proposing a 10% raise in his upcoming two-year state budget plan.

The largest increase over 15-year span could put Virginia’s teacher pay above the national average

On Dec. 6, Gov. Ralph Northam kicked off his “Thank You, Virginia” tour at Alexandria City High School, where he continued his efforts to increase teacher pay by proposing a pay raise for teachers in his upcoming two-year state budget plan.

Since taking office in 2018, Northam has increased teacher salaries by more than 10%; the largest increase over a 15-year span. With the help of local fund matches, the proposed raise could help put Virginia 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.”

According to the National Education Association, for the 2019-20 school year, Virginia’s teacher pay ranked 17th in the nation in starting salary, but fell to 26th for average teacher salary. On average, teacher pay is just under $55,000 a year.

Over the next two years, teachers would receive 5% of the raise the first year of the budget plan and the other 5% the second year. The proposed raise for teachers is a first look at his outgoing budget, which will formally be revealed on Dec. 16, according to Alena Yarmosky, his senior communications advisor.

“We are very excited about this proposal for a teacher pay raise,” said Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Alexandria City Public Schools acting chief of human resources. “We would love to see their hard work and dedication rewarded. Our teachers do so much to help our students thrive inside and outside of the classroom, and this proposed pay raise would show them that they are valued. Thank you to all ACPS educators for their continued support of our school community.”

The budget proposal Northam introduced would also see state funding boosted for pre-K-12th grade by over $2 billion over two years.

Northam will cede power to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin on Jan. 15. During his run for governor, Youngkin pledged to raise teacher pay in the state.