Teacher pay increases, child care support legislation advance in legislature

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By Amie Knowles

February 16, 2024

Tuesday was “crossover day” in the Virginia General Assembly, a key deadline for bills to pass in at least one of the state’s two legislative chambers—the state House of Delegates or state Senate—in order to be considered in the other. 

Following crossover day, three key education bills remain on track to potentially become law this year. 

The Senate is already hard at work, considering House Bill 187. The bill, which passed the House of Delegates with  broad bipartisan support,calls for future budget proposals to include funding for “sufficient” salary increases for Virginia teachers. 

HB 187 would propel the average salary for an educator to “at least the national average teacher salary” by 2028. That’s quite a feat, considering Virginia teacher pay hasn’t topped the national average in over 50 years. A 2023 study from the Virginia Education Association found that estimated average teacher pay in the commonwealth was just over $62,100 annually—more than $6,300 below the estimated national average for the job. 

Senate Bill 46 is also still in the running. You might’ve heard of “legacy admissions,” a shorthand term for the practice of giving preferential treatment to college applicants who are related to alumni or donors. The Senate bill and twin House Bill 48 seeking to ban the practice both unanimously passed their respective chambers. 

House Bill 407 seeks to help families that receive public assistance through Medicaid or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. If passed, these families would automatically qualify for assistance through the Child Care Subsidy Program. The program helps eligible Virginia families pay for child care.

Two other education bills we were watching didn’t advance. They were each continued (essentially postponed) to 2025. 

House Bill 408 dealt with the periodic reimbursement of child care providers, based on a child’s attendance. It would’ve only applied to vendors participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program. The bill didn’t make it out of the Elementary & Secondary Education subcommittee.

House Bill 181 called for decreasing the ratio needed between students and full-time school counselors from 1:325 to 1:250. HB 181 also got left in the Elementary & Secondary Education subcommittee.

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  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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