As more people return to work, several school divisions in Hampton Roads are facing teacher shortages. There is a new push to attract and retain employees.
NORFOLK, Va. — As many school divisions face teacher shortages, there is pressure to attract and retain employees.
Budget proposals across Hampton Roads include increases for educators.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence says if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the value of public education.
“Public schools are important, and if public schools are important, we need to invest in them in a way that shows we value them in our community,” he said.
Teachers and school staff have had to adapt over the past two years, and Spence said the division needs to show educators how valued they are. Salary is a big part of it.
RELATED: Teacher increases considered in public schools budget proposals for Hampton, Norfolk
“There’s a 40 percent salary gap between teachers and everyone else with a bachelor’s degree in Virginia,” Spence said.
Spence recommends a total salary increase of 5% for all staff in the division. His proposal also includes better pay rates, health cost investment allowances, including reduced employee bonuses.
You can read Spence’s full recommendations here.
Other school divisions in Hampton Roads are also pushing for increased teacher and staff pay.
Portsmouth Public Schools Superintendent Dr Elie Bracy recommends a 5 per cent raise for all staff. As of February, the division had 56 vacancies for teaching assistants and 105 vacancies for teachers, according to spokeswoman Lauren Nolasco.
The proposal for Hampton City Schools supports a 5% wage increase for all full-time staff and most part-time positions, according to the school division. It also includes adjustments to teacher salary scales and increases to teachers’ starting salaries.
You can read Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Smith’s full recommendations here.
Members of the Hampton School Board will hold public hearings on the proposed budget on March 9 and 16. The HCS school board is due to vote on March 23.
In Norfolk, Superintendent Dr Sharon Byrdsong is recommending average teacher salary increases of just under 6%, with a list of salary bonuses. The NPS School Board is due to vote on March 16 and must provide a budget to Norfolk City Council by April 1.
You can read the recommendation for Norfolk Public Schools here.
For Chesapeake Public Schools, the budget proposal includes a 3.5% increase for entry-level teacher salaries, from $47,150 to $48,000. Overall, the average teacher salary would increase by about 5%.
Learn more about CPA’s proposed budget here.
In Suffolk, the average recommended teacher would be over 7%. Read the full budget proposal here.
In Newport News, NNPS Superintendent Dr. George Parker will present his budget to the school board on March 8. However, he recommends an overall salary increase of 5% and higher starting salaries for teachers.
You can read the NNPS budget proposal here.
“We can have beautiful grounds and fields and all those things, but none of those things have value unless we have people in the buildings who are trained to do the job,” said Kathleen Slinde, president of Virginia. Beach. Educational association.
Slinde is happy to hear that the Virginia Beach School Division is considering investing more in staff. She said compensation and work-life balance are popular topics among educators in the public school system.
The teachers do what they do for the children, says Slinde. But educators also have needs.
“Nobody wants to leave school because of money, but we have to be able to live,” she said.
As of late January, public schools in Virginia Beach City had more than 100 teaching vacancies and 300 nonteaching vacancies, according to Spence’s report.
Spence hopes higher wages can help close that gap, though he says other variables are at play.
“I hope that helps, but I also recognize — I think we all recognize in the job market that salary isn’t the only thing,” Spence said.