Richond, Va - The Virginia Education Association president addressed the estimated 4,000 people standing in front of the portico of the Virginia Capitol with news that caused the teachers, parents, students and community members gathered there to cheer as loudly as they had all day: The House of Delegates planned to include a 5 percent raise for teachers in its budget.
Teachers from across the state — many wearing red as part of a nationwide movement to advocate for more education funding — converged on the city Monday to support Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed teacher raise while also calling on legislators, who are debating a budget for next year, to improve Virginia’s share of education spending from its current status as one of the country’s lowest funders.
While marchers gathered Monday morning in Monroe Park before a milelong walk to the Capitol, House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, told a House committee that the chamber’s proposed budget will include the 5 percent raise without increasing taxes.
“Providing teacher pay raises does not have to come with a tax on the middle class attached to it,” Jones said.
Parker Slaybaugh, spokesman for Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said work on the House’s budget started in December and the salary plan was announced Monday “to allow all the teachers visiting legislators to hear the great news firsthand.”