Teacher pay raises: School advocates hope others will follow Henrico’s lead

Teacher pay raises: School advocates hope others will follow Henrico’s lead

HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - Education advocates are pleased with Henrico County’s proposal of a salary hike for all teachers and hope other school systems will follow.

Based on Henrico County’s plan, all teachers would receive at least a 6.9% raise after those efforts were frozen last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many teachers are excited, they say there is still work to be done.

“It’s our strong feeling that teacher salaries and educators’ salaries should be at or above the national average,” said John Reaves, President of the Henrico Education Association.

For years, this issue has marched its way to the state capital. While 2020 and 2021 may be a bit different, there’s still a lot of attention on raising teacher salaries.

“With the virtual environment in which we’ve been working I think it has truly, organically amplified the need for the increased salaries for our educators,” said Virginia Education Association President Dr. James Fedderman. “They have demonstrated they are on the front line working to educate some of our most vulnerable students and they have done this without a playbook.”

“The salaries in Virginia, for example, in the 2020 fiscal year we ranked 34th and were $9,712 behind the national average,” Reaves said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not helped. In 2020 Henrico County froze salaries among county employees, including teachers.

On Tuesday, leaders took the step to try and show their appreciation for the work done over the last year.

“I think it takes a lot of courage to really say and put the money in the direction of educators,” Reaves said. “Obviously, my belief is that schools are an essential part of community.”

Based on the presentation, Henrico County would lead in teacher salaries compared to surrounding jurisdictions.

Based on the proposed plan, Henrico County teachers would be paid more than other educators in the region.
Based on the proposed plan, Henrico County teachers would be paid more than other educators in the region. (Source: Henrico Co. Govt.)

“If we want to continue to recruit and retain the very best teachers and the very best educators, we need to have salaries that are competitive,” Reaves said.

“I think if we’re going to do it, the time is now!” Fedderman added. “We need to move forward unapologetically.”

Meanwhile, Henrico also plans to recognize its long-serving employees with a specific raise based on their tenure.

More information about pay raises is expected to be sent to school employees in the near future.

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