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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Va. teachers group lobbies state to help fund pay increase

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

The Virginia Education Association is urging the General Assembly to approve funding that would give school employees a three percent raise next year.

The group estimates that the pay increase would cost the state $110 million, an ambitious goal in a year when state revenues are only just beginning to pick up after the economic downturn. Education funding is split between state and local governments, according to a funding formula tied to local wealth.

At a news conference Wednesday, VEA President Kitty Boitnott noted that state funding for education has dipped 14.4 percent since fiscal year 2009, prompting local districts to lay off staff and freeze or cut salaries.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's not a lot of money," she said. "It's time to step up and do the right thing."

Boitnott was surrounded by presidents of six local education associations, holding up signs that read "3% now." Chesterfield Education Association president Frank Cardella said staff in his county took a two percent pay cut this year, meaning a three percent raise wouldn't increase salaries much.

In coming weeks, advocates for all kinds of government services will make requests for state funding, hoping to be first in line as legislators work to reverse cuts made in recent years as revenues slowly turn around. The VEA could face a tough road with lawmakers, some of whom have argued they worked hard to protect public education from the deepest cuts during the recession and would like to turn attention this year to other areas of the budget.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 8, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate  
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Comments

It's ridiculous for this group to receive a raise while other government employees have already been denied in this budget cycle. Especially when considering that other government employees don't enjoy a THREE MONTH ANNUAL VACATION. Also note that public education accounts for appoximately half of the Virginia budget as it is.

Posted by: MillionSix | December 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

In the grand scheme of things . . . it is a lot of money. If Miss Kitty really wanted to do the right thing and the funds were “actually available”, she should push for bringing back the folks that were let go. Is this what the union members pay dues for . . . to be forgotten in a time of need?

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVirginia | December 9, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

"Is this what the union members pay dues for . . . to be forgotten in a time of need?"

---

As a right-to-work state, union membership isn't compulsory. I know a lot of teachers and honestly don't know a single one that's Union.

The whole "Teacher's Union" boogeyman talking point doesn't really hold much weight here.

Posted by: VTDuffman | December 9, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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