Teacher raises move ahead across Roanoke Valley
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Across the Roanoke Valley, school districts are looking at increasing teacher and staff salaries. The raises come amid a renewed push from the governor and General Assembly.
It wasn’t long ago - only a year - that teacher raises were on the chopping block, an early victim of COVID-19. A planned 3% raise was scrapped from the state budget in 2020 as COVID cut into state earnings.
This year, as revenue has recovered, a raise is back on the table. The latest state budget from the General Assembly has a 5% raise for teachers. The costs would be born jointly by the state and local districts.
“This year we’re really trying to work to give teachers and staff a 5% raise,” said Franklin County Superintendent Dr. Bernice Cobbs.
Cobbs says the salary increase - which will cost the district about $2 million - is vital to making sure the county stays competitive in the fight to recruit teachers.
“It at least gives us somewhat of a level playing ground,” she said.
That playing ground is level because plenty of other districts are also moving ahead with raises of their own. That includes Salem, which approved a 5% raise along with its preliminary budget Tuesday night.
Roanoke City moved ahead with a similar proposal. Between a raise the school board already approved mid-year and another raise next year, the district is on track to hit the 5% mark.
But it’s not just about staying competitive. District leaders, including Cobbs, say the raise is necessary as a thank you to teachers after an extraordinary year.
“Our teachers, or staff have really stepped up to the plate. So if we’re able to give them the 5% raise, that would just be wonderful,” she said.
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