We are fortunate to have great teachers in classrooms all across Virginia, especially in Fairfax County. Teachers are a key part of ensuring that our children receive a quality education. Over the last several years, we have worked hard to recognize and reward Virginia’s teachers by increasing teacher pay, enacting innovative reforms that give teachers more flexibility and promoting teacher professionalism.
Last year, the General Assembly funded a two percent teacher pay raise for all teachers. Additionally, we created a strategic compensation program based off a model developed by teachers in Southwest Virginia. Strategic compensation allows local leaders to reward teachers with additional pay for meeting certain locally-established strategic criteria. These pay and incentive increases have helped raise teacher salaries across Virginia. We’ve also worked to create the Governor’s teacher cabinet and to increase resources for training teachers.
Building on the work accomplished in 2013, we have sought to continue to make targeted investments in our teachers and classrooms with this year’s budget. The House budget proposal includes over $500 million in additional funding for K-12 education. This funding will help give our teachers and schools the resources they need. For teachers specifically, this funding will be used for health insurance premiums and to fully fund the Virginia Retirement System.
Beyond that, in negotiations with the Senate, the House budget conferees have offered a one percent salary increase for teachers starting in 2016, while continuing our commitment to the strategic compensation program. Please note, the Senate budget does not specifically dedicate any money to teacher pay raises.
I recognize how important teachers are to our young people. These investments are meant to recognize and reward our teachers for all they do. I will continue to work to do everything I can to attract and retain great teachers in the Commonwealth.