State employees and teachers will receive a 1.5 percent one-time bonus under Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget plan that he will announce on Friday.
However, he announced Tuesday that his budget proposal will include about $130.6 million in relief for public employees. State workers will get $42.2 million in bonuses, and $55.5 million will cover bonuses for teachers.
The bonuses will be issued next December, according to the governor. This comes after he canceled raises.
"They go beyond the needs and hours, they need to be compensated for that," said Quinton Folks, a former education major at VCU. He recently switched his major, choosing to no longer pursue a career in education.
However, he knows the work that goes into that career-path.
"I envy their dedication because it takes a lot to be an education major," he said.
His classmate, Sarah Douthwait, agreed. She is currently studying to become a music teacher, but it also debating a switch in major.
"If I didn’t have teachers that cared about their job, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am, it is important you have teachers who are passionate," she said.
Recruiting and retaining those teachers goes hand in hand with making the Commonwealth competitive when it comes to salaries.
The Virginia Education Association made a statement on the governor’s salary update:
We need a determined effort to provide salaries capable of attracting and retaining the best and brightest to teach in Virginia classrooms, and the proposal made by Governor McAuliffe is a step in that direction. In the midst of a state revenue shortfall, the Governor is to be commended for prioritizing the bonus and holding the line on K-12 direct aid to public schools.
Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but it is just one step. Virginians support quality public schools, and one of the most important attributes of great schools is the presence of caring and capable teachers.
But the following facts suggest we are sending the wrong signal to those who are considering a teaching career in the Commonwealth:
Virginia teachers earn, on average, $7200 less than the national average for pay.
As a state, Virginia ranks 30th in the nation on teacher pay.
In eight of the past 10 years, the state has contributed “zero” to support pay increases for teachers in local public schools. Local schools could not and cannot make up such a shortfall.
To address these facts, the VEA supports a state policy for increasing teacher salaries to at least the national average.
We look forward to working with the Governor and the General Assembly to ensure that recruiting and retaining the best teachers for our classroom becomes a significant priority for the Commonwealth.
In his budget proposal, Gov. McAuliffe also said intends to not make any cuts to K-12 education.
The proposal was announced during a radio show on WRVA.