Chesterfield teachers walk out in protest for pay increase

Chesterfield teachers stage walk-out for better pay

CHESTERFIELD CO, Va. (WWBT) - As state lawmakers are still trying to reach a deal on education funding, a group of Chesterfield teachers staged a walkout Tuesday in order to push for better pay.

Chesterfield School Superintendent Merv Daughtery has been fighting for more money in the budget, by asking for $99.9 million more. The school board didn’t grant that much and teachers say an increase is needed.

Chesterfield teachers marched out of the classrooms all over the county Tuesday demanding a pay increase.

“Nobody goes into education to get rich,” Sonia Smith said.

Smith is the Chesterfield Education Association President and says Virginia ranks 32nd in the nation for teacher pay rates. If you take Northern Virginia out of the equation then the state drops near the bottom of the list.

'It was empowering and to some, it was a little scary because they had never done anything like that before," Smith said.

Smith says they picked Super Tuesday to demonstrate because it was a teacher workday and student learning wasn’t impacted.

“We would like to be able to put food on the table, pay our bills and not ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ in the process,” Smith said.

Daugherty asked for a $99 million budget increase to help give teachers a raise.

“For the first time in a long time, educators in Chesterfield County feel supported and they feel a level of hope with the superintendent,” Smith said.

Supervisors only approved giving schools $55 million more.

“We went to college. We have multiple degrees and are professionals. The only thing we are asking for is to be treated as such,” Smith said.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.