Teacher Pay Raise Bill Might Not Fit in Budget
Written by Rachel McDevitt
Last updated on March 04, 2014 @ 7:01PM
Created on March 04, 2014 @ 5:36PM
There's a bill in the House of Delegates right now that could give teachers $6,000 in raises over the next three years, but it could also put a strain on the state's budget.
The original Senate bill proposed a modest raise, about $800. With the new amendment, the bill would give more substantial raises to both teachers and service personnel. Delegate David Walker (D-Clay, 33) introduced the amendment, which would give teachers a $1,000 raise this year, $2,000 next year, and $3,000 the next. Service personnel would get a $1,000 raise.
The bill has moved on to the finance committee, which could strip the bill back to the Senate version. One reason they might do that is this amendment didn't have a funding plan and it's estimated to cost the state over $200 million a year. These are going to be years where the revenue projections are declining, and some delegates are worried there will be no way to pay for these raises without extra taxes.
"It would have put us in a budget crisis, with the only option, I believe, to increase taxes somewhere," said Mary Poling (D-Barbour, 47). "That's a significant increase. Or cut many, many other programs, including funding for instructional programs other than salaries."
A county like Marion wouldn't have too much of a problem, because they have an excess levy to help pay for supplies and other things, but counties without that would have to take money from other areas to pay for these raises.
"The entire education budget is one whole big package. The Legislature are the ones who decide what is good for education. We obviously at the local level don't have that option. We have to follow the rules and mandates given to us," said Treasurer of the Marion County Board of Education, Kim Wade.
The House will have to pass this bill by the end of the week for it to take effect.
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