RICHMOND – A House committee today defeated a bill aiming to close the gap between the average teacher’s salary nationally and in Virginia.
SB1186 would have made it Virginia’s goal for teachers to earn a paycheck that’s competitive with the national average teacher salary. Right now, there’s a nearly $3,000 gap, according to the Virginia Education Association.
Virginia has lagged behind ever since falling off the national average in the mid-1980s, making it more difficult to recruit, said the bill’s patron, Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax County.
“I think this puts us in a position to be more competitive in attracting teachers,” Barker told the House Education Committee. “If you don’t have some leadership from the state, you’re not going to move.”
The committee voted down the bill over concerns it either would do nothing or result in an unfunded mandate to localities, which decide how much to pay their teachers. Opponents also said the state should compare salaries regionally, not nationally.
The General Assembly is considering a 2 percent raise for teachers and other school employees next year, though the proposal depends on state and local funding.
-Kathy Adams, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot