Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the bill would increase teacher salaries by 4.5% over a 5-year span. It will increase salaries 4.5% each year over a 5-year span. WAVY regrets the error.
RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — As state lawmakers meet in Richmond this year they’ve got a lot on their plate. The pandemic will likely soak up the spotlight, but a local delegate wants to make sure another issue gets the attention it deserves, public school teacher salaries.
Teacher salaries in Virginia lag behind neighboring states and most of the nation.
According to the National Education Association, the average salary for a public school teacher nationwide is $60,477. Virginia falls below the national average making $51,994 a year, ranking number 32 out of 50 on the list.
Del. Marth Mugler represents Hampton, Poquoson and York County. She plans to introduce a bill raising teacher salaries 4.5% each year over a 5-year span.
“Virginia is a leader in education,” explained Mugler. “We’re well thought of for our academics and our policies on education. So it only makes sense that we are compensating our teachers in a way that aligns with where we stack up as a commonwealth with other states. We should be compensating our teachers at that same kind of level.”
Before becoming a state delegate, Mugler spent a decade as a school board member for the City of Hampton. She said she had a front-row seat to the struggles of the education system.
“It’s really about attracting and retaining the highest quality teachers in your school division. That’s really how you move the needle for young people is to have the best and brightest teachers in your classrooms.”
Mugler admits the bill will face some struggles.
“The stumbling block is the money side. The bill is designed to become effective in 2022, so it does give time for us to align ourselves and get our budget to a place where we could get to that number.”
10 On Your Side will continue to follow the bill’s progress this session.
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