VB school superintendent presents proposed budget for next year, which includes 5% teacher raise

Education

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach school officials have released the proposed budget for the next school year, which includes a 5% raise for teachers, among other items.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence presented his proposed 2021-2022 budget to the school board on Tuesday night.

The $828.8-million budget includes a raise for teachers, expanding the Spanish Immersion Program, increasing the number of guidance counselors, and more.

Here’s exactly what’s proposed, per a school division spokeswoman:

  • a 5% raise for teachers (4.5% increase in cost of living adjustment (COLA) + a 0.5% step increase for all staff reaching or below top of scale)
  • moving all custodians up one pay grade
  • increasing the number of guidance counselors for elementary and middle schools
  • expanding the Spanish Immersion Program
  • supports for our growing English as a Second Language (ESL) and special education populations
  • further support for the Environmental Studies Program at the Brock Center

On Wednesday, Spence gave more insight into the proposed budget for next year.

Spence said this budget will benefit everyone in the district — and teachers haven’t had raises in some time. Spence said the district was not able to do raises last year because of pandemic.

“It’s been a very difficult year for our employees. We’ve made a commitment to them that we want to honor the work that they’ve done,” Spence said, adding that raises were a priority for this upcoming budget.

The 5% raise covers most staff. At the top of the scale, when an employee reaches 30 years, they don’t get a step increase. Instead, they get a cost-of-living increase.

“What we know is, our salary increase across Virginia has not been keeping up with inflation,” Spence added.

Some employees were also worried the raises would increase health care costs. But Spence said the district is keeping premium costs level next year.

In part, the budget includes the raises because there were better-than-expected revenue projections from Virginia Beach and the state.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools recently returned some students to the classroom on Tuesday, including pre-K through sixth-grade students and some special needs students.

Students in seventh through 12th grade are planned to return three weeks later on Feb. 23.

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