RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Education Association estimates more than 2,000 educators made their way to the Capitol Monday for the ‘Fund our Future’ rally.
“Supporters carried signs pointing out that Virginia ranks 40th in the nation in the state aid, per-pupil, it provides to public schools, as well as ranking 32nd in the country in teacher pay,” the VEA explained in a statement. “Teacher salaries in Virginia lag $8,500 behind the national average.”
Surrounding the bell tower, educators could be heard chanting “Red for Ed,” and “Fund our Future." Many of the teachers at the rally say they are concerned about the lack of funding in schools and the impact that low pay has on recruiting future educators.
“It’s a really great job and I think we set a foundation that can put them on a right step for life," explained John Bennett, a Richmond Public Schools teacher. “We can’t hire people because I assume there aren’t enough applicants willing to work for the pay we are offering. We go every year with many jobs unfilled.”
Bennett and his wife, Mary, say school buildings not just in the City of Richmond, but all over the Commonwealth, need to be a priority in order to help students have proper learning environments.
“If we don’t have the resources needed for us to get by on a daily basis, or resources needed to provide for them, how are we to educate them and push them to the next level so they can be the best they can be in life?" explained an educator from Alexandria.
Educators have described Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed $1.2 billion education budget as “woefully short," many citing it does not include a pay raise for teachers.
Richmond Public Schools were closed Monday in order to allow employees to attend the rally.
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