Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced several new measures he wants to be considered by the Virginia General Assembly next year to encourage teachers to meet the state’s academic goals.
The largest of these is a 2 percent salary increase totaling $58.7 million in fiscal year 2014 for the state’s public school teachers, including librarians, instructional aides, principals and assistant principals.
“Virginia’s teachers are underpaid,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Everyone knows a teacher who has stayed after school, worked with students during their lunch break and on weekends.”
McDonnell will also propose $15 million to be put toward a strategic compensation grant initiative.
The initiative would allow school divisions to pay teachers extra for helping the division reach its strategic goals or objectives.
McDonnell listed teachers that help students make significant academic progress, tutor after school, or transfer to hard-to-staff or low-performing school divisions as ones qualifying for increased compensation under the initiative.
He also will also ask Republicans to propose the Educator Fairness Act, which will extend the probationary window from three to five years for teachers and redefine the definition of incompetence to include one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations.
Joey Mathews, president of the Loudoun Education Association (LEA), the local chapter of the Virginia Education Association (VEA), said the group was most supportive of McDonnell’s plan to give teachers a two-percent pay raise.
The VEA is the state’s largest trade union for teachers.
“We’re [the state of Virginia] about $7,000 below the national average,” Mathews said. “A lot of the teachers have received a single pay raise in the past two or three years.”
He said the LEA will still in the process of formulating opinions about extending the probationary period for new hires and the Educator Fairness Act.
He said he was cautiously optimistic about both, but was waiting to see the specifics of the laws put through the Virginia General Assembly.
“A lot of things are going to depend on what the details are,” Mathews said.
The Virginia General Assembly’s legislative session begins Jan. 9, 2013.
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